May 20, 2013 in City

Spokane airport might add terminal if growth continues

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

The airport’s 20-year master plan calls for building a new passenger terminal in this open field west of the existing facility.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

A new airport costing $250 million or more might be in the region’s future, a 20-year master plan for Spokane International Airport says.

But Airport Director and CEO Larry Krauter said the project – really a concept at this point – is not likely to be needed until 2030 or later.

In the meantime, modest expansion and renovation of the existing air terminal can accommodate Spokane’s travel needs for the next decade or two, he said.

“The original terminal will probably go away at some point,” Krauter said last week. “An expanded C (terminal) isn’t necessarily the long-range answer to our capacity issues in the future,” he said.

Newer airports around the country are built between runways, allowing planes to approach passenger loading areas from all sides.

The concept proposed for the future in Spokane would create that kind of arrangement to the west of Airport Drive, where it approaches the existing terminals. A new terminal likely would be situated at midfield between the existing main runway and a future parallel runway to the northwest.

Any improvements at the airport would be based on growth in passenger and cargo traffic.

According to the master plan, the number of people boarding planes stood at about 1.6 million passengers in 2010. That number could grow by about 3.4 percent a year to 3.1 million boardings in 2030, the plan estimates.

The airport has enough land to the north and west to accommodate a second runway, which would involve rerouting Hayford Road.

Krauter said rapid growth in Spokane could speed up the timetable for new facilities, but a downturn in the economy would have the opposite effect.

Other uses would be found for the existing terminal once a new terminal is opened.

Among the intermediate improvements proposed are a new central baggage claim area between the A/B and C concourses.

New security screening facilities could be built along with a rental pickup and drop-off location in the nearest parking garage.

A secure area for international flights, additional sky bridges from the parking garage and expansion of cargo facilities are also included in the intermediate plans.

The master plan calls for more commercial space to allow for growth in aerospace industries near the airport.

Included in the plan is a large parcel of land to the northwest that could become home to a future aerospace manufacturer, possibly Boeing or another large company, Krauter said.

The plan identifies property that would be ready for construction with access to runways, roads and rail. Plans are also included for locating related industries such as suppliers and shippers, Krauter said.

“Before, all we had was sort of vacant land with no plan of how to develop it,” Krauter said. “Being ready is really critical” for attracting potential employers, he said.

He declined to identify businesses being courted by Spokane officials to bring jobs to airport land but said there currently are two potential employers in discussions with the airport.

Francis work expands

Traffic on Francis Avenue is going to take another hit starting this week – this time west of Division Street.

Utility workers are going to begin construction on a gas line in the vicinity of Monroe Street starting today. That will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction between Wall and Cedar streets.

The job is advance work for repaving of Francis this summer west of Division and on state Highway 291 to the Stevens County line. Repaving begins May 28.

To the east, Francis remains closed from Market to Crestline, and intersection work continues at Francis and Crestline.

Construction of a new overpass bridge east of Market has brought delivery of new “super girders.”

Chuck Prussack, general manager of Central Pre-mix Prestress Co., said 96 of the girders are being manufactured at the company facility in east Spokane and trucked to the site.

Stormwater project

Clearwater Construction and Management will be posting signs this week on Monroe Street at the north side of the Monroe Street Bridge announcing a construction closure of that segment of Monroe from June 3 to 27.

Work is planned to divert stormwater from Monroe into a reclamation facility that will be shared in a public-private project involving the Kendall Yards development.

Farwell Road widening

A section of Farwell Road will close starting today through mid-autumn from just east of the North Spokane Corridor to just east of Market Street.

Farwell is being widened to handle a middle turn lane along with curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes. Sewer work is beginning today.

The intersection of Market and Farwell will remain open with the exception of five short-term closures during the project.

Bridge repairs

State highway crews are doing bridge repairs Monday and Tuesday on the Harvard Road overpass and Wednesday and Thursday on the Thor Street overpass on Interstate 90, forcing lane restrictions from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Belt on, phone off

The annual “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign begins today and runs through June 2. The effort is intended to ensure that people are wearing seat belts and not using cellphones.

The patrol is funded through a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and involves multiple agencies in Spokane, Whitman, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.

Last year, more than 1,000 cellphone tickets and 3,171 seat belt violations were issued in the regional emphasis.

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