November 17, 2008 in City

Airport roadways re-routed for safety

Mike Prager
 

On the Web: Listen to airport marketing director Todd Woodard discuss changes to traffic patterns at s-r.com.

If you haven’t been to Spokane International Airport recently, be ready for some changes in the entryway.

The layout of lanes, driveways and parking areas used by the public for dropping off and picking up passengers has been realigned to increase safety and visibility.

Motorists on Airport Drive coming into the terminal from the north now must swing to the right toward Concourse C, the newer building used by Alaska and Horizon airlines.

From Concourse C, the three-lane road puts drivers in a straight line toward concourses A and B, with a better view of the stretch of curb and sidewalk used for passenger loading and unloading.

The portion of Airport Drive that previously passed next to the two parking garages has been closed. The changes took affect in October.

The old route forced drivers to peer around a skywalk support column next to the parking structures. Now, drivers will get a largely unobstructed view of where they need to go.

“You didn’t have a real clear vision,” said Todd Woodard, airport director of marketing and public relations. It “created the potential for confusion. This clears that up.”

The changes also opened up space for metered parking, a feature both popular and convenient for the public, he said.

The realignment is part of an ongoing effort to improve airport facilities.

Next year, construction is expected to begin on a new loading and unloading area for courtesy vans and shuttle buses along Airport Drive next to a parking garage. Shuttles and vans would no longer use the terminal-side curb, leaving more room for the general public. Arriving air travelers looking for a van or shuttle should have an easier time spotting their vehicle, Woodard said.

Beyond that, plans call for redesigning the parking garage exit and pay booth area on the northeast side of the airport to make room for an additional 170 parking spaces close to the terminal.

The airport earlier this month opened a new $14.1 million facility for rental cars at the northeast end of the terminal.

Big concrete, big move

A huge hunk of finished concrete that left Spokane last weekend aboard a specially designed truck was one of the heaviest loads ever shipped by Spokane’s Central Pre-Mix Prestress Co.

The 95-ton cap beam for a freeway project near Boise was manufactured at the Central plant on East Broadway Avenue in Spokane Valley. It was scheduled to arrive today at the Black Cat Bridge interchange project on Interstate 84 just west of Nampa.

Chuck Prussack, general manager at Central Pre-Mix Prestress, said the cap beam will be lifted onto a pair of columns in the freeway median and will be used to support lengthwise girders on a new bridge being built across the freeway.

He said the $70,000 component cost more than $50,000 to ship to Idaho via Interstate 90 west to U.S. Highway 395 at Ritzville and then south to I-84 in Oregon.

Its manufacture was part of a design trend in the industry to use pre-built components, which can be erected more quickly than building forms and pouring bridge pieces in place. The practice – called “accelerated bridge construction” – shortens construction periods and minimizes disruption to drivers.

Troopers turn to trucks

Washington state troopers in the commercial truck division wrote more than 2,800 violations during the week of Oct. 19. It was part of a national safety campaign to make highways safer, mainly through brake inspections; other tickets were written for moving and equipment violations.

From those violations, 301 vehicles were taken out of service.

Capt. Darrin Grondel, commander of the commercial vehicle division, said in a news release, “Having defective equipment and disobeying the rules of the road puts all of us, your family and mine, at risk.”

Unattended idling could cost you

Starting your car in cold weather and running back inside until it warms up may sound like a good idea, but it’s illegal.

Spokane police in coming weeks will issue warnings – not only because it’s against the law, but also because it creates an opportunity for car thieves. Each winter, police receive numerous reports of thefts of cars left unattended while being warmed up. Last winter, one of those stolen cars was crashed into a cafe on North Nevada Street.

The fine for leaving a running vehicle unattended is $124.

Bike plan on agenda

Members of the public are invited to an open house Tuesday on an update of Spokane’s master bike plan. The meeting, from 6 to 8 p.m., will be at Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W. Broadway.

Road closures

Due to weather and rock slides, Road 209 (Little North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River Road) will be closed to all public traffic from Bumblebee Creek to Laverne Creek until repair work is completed, according to the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District.

Main Avenue in Peaceful Valley from Maple to Cedar streets will be closed for two weeks for work on a storm sewer pipe.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or mikep@spokesman.com.


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