The intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Flint Road has some safety issues, but there are no immediate plans to improve it.
More people are driving through the intersection on their way to and from Spokane International Airport since the Airport Board closed McFarlane Road in February because it couldn’t afford to maintain it. McFarlane had been the preferred route for many.
Flint Road, however, poses a key problem for northbound motorists trying to turn left onto Highway 2.
There is no traffic signal. There is no center turn lane. Those trying to travel west from the airport via Flint Road must negotiate the eastbound highway lanes and attempt to merge immediately into traffic going 55 mph.
Davenport resident Karl Moldrem calls the situation “inexcusable.”
One day, it took almost five minutes for six cars to make the turn, Moldrem said. All but one were able to enter the highway only by illegally stopping midway across the highway in a turn lane intended for eastbound Highway 2 traffic to turn left.
The Washington State Department of Transportation was caught off-guard by the Airport Board’s decision to close McFarlane Road, said Transportation spokesman Al Gilson.
State engineers are investigating the situation at Flint Road, but there are no immediate plans for a traffic signal or other improvements, Gilson said.
The airport inherited McFarlane Road from Spokane County in 2003 but couldn’t afford to keep it up, said Airport Director Neal Sealock.
“We maintain our primary entrance, and that’s all I can spend our allocated dollars on,” Sealock said.
Sealock said that the airport would support state improvements at the intersection but would be unable to financially contribute to any solution.
Viaduct project wrapping up
Work on the Interstate 90 viaduct should be complete a week from today.
Lane and ramp openings will be phased in over the next week.
•Today or Tuesday: Westbound traffic moved to new concrete. The eastbound Maple Street exit could open.
•Wednesday-Friday: Eastbound Division Street exit closed from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. for repairs, though the work may be done by Thursday.
•Saturday: All westbound lanes, exits and on-ramps open, with westbound speed returned to 60 mph.
•Aug. 6: All eastbound lanes and ramps open, with speed limit 60 mph.
Sullivan project complete
Work to repave Sullivan Road with concrete has been completed between Mission and Indiana avenues. The roadway and I-90 exits and on-ramps are now open.
Passenger traffic is up 6.6 percent at Spokane International Airport when compared with last year. June’s plane boardings are up even more – 11.1 percent. That’s an increase of almost 15,700 passengers for the month and more than 100,000 for the first half of the year.
Much of the surge can be attributed to new flights.
“June was the first month all the new ExpressJet flights were fully operable,” said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.
In addition to ExpressJet’s flights to Southern California, Delta and Horizon have also added nonstop flights between Spokane and the L.A. area.
Local air travelers should expect additional flights to be added, said airport director Sealock.
“People are using them, so it’s just going to generate more,” Sealock said.
The L.A. area is now being well-served, so potential destinations for new, nonstop flights could be Midwest or East Coast cities or cities in western Canada, he said.
Lower prices don’t hurt
Another thing that could be boosting air traffic here is dropping prices.
Average Spokane ticket prices have been falling since the fourth quarter of 2006 and have hit their lowest level since the beginning of 2006, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Spokane airfare prices hit their peak during the third quarter of 2006.
Mill Road reopened
Spokane County reopened a stretch of Mill Road on Friday that has been closed since early June for sewer work.
The section is from Hastings Road to Dartford Drive, north of Spokane.
•Eastbound I-90 will be reduced from 4 a.m. Tuesday until midafternoon to two lanes at Altamont.
On Sunday, westbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes from 4 a.m. until midafternoon at Thor/Freya.
•Crestline Street is closed from Illinois to Wellesley for repaving.
•Ash Street is closed from Francis Avenue to Northwest Boulevard.
•Aubrey L. White Parkway is closed from Rifle Club Road to Pine Meadows Road.
•Highway 395/Division and Hastings Road work has created numerous lane restrictions. The speed limit has been reduced to 35 mph.
•Liberty Avenue is closed from Madelia Street to Pittsburg Street, and Pittsburg is closed from North Foothills Drive to Bridgeport Avenue for repaving.
•Northbound U.S. Highway 195 is reduced to one lane in several places between Spangle and Hatch Road, and the speed limit is reduced to 45 mph in work zones.
•Southeast Boulevard is closed from Perry Street to Fourth Avenue.
•Crews are working on the traffic signal at Grand Boulevard and 25th Avenue this week; expect delays.
•Highway 27 is reduced to single-lane traffic near 46th Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
•Sections of I-90 may be reduced to single lanes between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. Mondays to Saturdays from the state line through Coeur d’Alene. Speeds will be reduced to 55 mph.
•Highway 95 work north of Worley will cause delays between Setters Road and Bellgrove Road as flaggers direct traffic.