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Getting There: Felts Field hosting regional fly-in

Organizers expect hundreds of planes at summer event

Felts Field has been selected as one of six small airports around the U.S. to host one-day regional fly-ins by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Two-hundred or more aircraft will fly into the airport Aug. 16.

Association members will have a chance to attend safety briefings and aviation clinics, and participate in flying activities.

Dave Ulane, the Northwest regional manager for AOPA, said Felts was chosen because it has an active and large community of private pilots and for the scenic qualities of the region.

Felts also has the advantage of being close to Idaho, Montana and Oregon, allowing more members to attend.

Members of the Washington Pilots Association and Experimental Aircraft Association in Spokane will help put on the event, he said.

Felts is home base to 250 aircraft and 68 tenants.

“It’s such a great aviation community out there,” said Ulane, who lives in Spokane.

AOPA is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It has 400,000 members nationwide and 9,000 in Washington.

Ulane said AOPA had held a single national fly-in in past years but decided on six regional fly-ins at the urging of members who wanted to make the events more convenient and boost attendance.

DUI arrests down over holidays

During the campaign to stop impaired driving over the holidays, law officers in the region made 228 arrests for driving under the influence. Last year, 237 people were arrested.

Statewide, officers arrested 2,732 drivers during the “drive sober or get pulled over” campaign.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission supports the program with grants to participating agencies. Agencies in Spokane, Whitman, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties were involved, including university police departments.

Transportation plan being updated

The Washington State Transportation Commission is starting work on an update of the Washington Transportation Plan, which will look ahead 20 years to see future transportation needs.

A 23-member advisory group will help in the work.

The plan will address goals for preservation of the existing system, safety, mobility, environment, efficiency and economic vitality.

A draft plan is expected this summer for public review.

The finished plan will consist of policy and strategy recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

Mansfield Avenue extension meeting

An open house on a proposal to connect Mansfield Avenue from Pines Road to Mirabeau Parkway will be held Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at CenterPlace Regional Event Center.

The Spokane Valley public works staff will share information about the project, answer questions and take suggestions.

Mansfield ends at Houk Street. The project would extend it about 300 feet eastward to connect with Mirabeau.

Construction would take seven to eight weeks later this year.

In addition to the connecting section, the project would add a center turn lane, bike lanes, sidewalk upgrades and stormwater improvements to the section of Mansfield from Pines to Houk.

The project is estimated to cost $1.9 million, including right of way, relocations, design and construction. State and federal grants are being combined with a local developer contribution and city funds.

Greene Street Bridge load limits

Load restrictions in place on the Greene Street Bridge could be lifted soon following a $1.5 million project to reinforce the bridge deck with a fiber-reinforced polymer.

Tests were done to establish a load capacity, and the results of those tests are pending, city officials said.

Ray Street work may restrict traffic

The gaping hole along Ray Street at 20th Avenue may also be the cause of occasional lane restrictions for southbound traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

The city is spending $5 million to build a 1-million-gallon stormwater and sanitary sewer retention tank. The project will prevent the combined sewage from flowing directly into the Spokane River during heavy rains or big snow melts.

Storms can overwhelm the sewer system, and the current design allows excess sewage, both stormwater and sanitary sewage, to flow into the river without treatment.

The tank will retain the excess flow until the runoff subsides and send it slowly to the city’s wastewater treatment plant next to Riverside State Park. That will allow both types of wastewater to be cleaned before they get to the river.

The project is being funded through utility rates and a state ecology grant.

Traffic light changes confused drivers

During the recent snowstorm, Spokane had problems with motorists confused by flashing yellow signals on the city’s main hills, including the North Division Street hill at Bridgeport Avenue.

Lights on the hills are converted from their normal green-yellow-red cycles to a flashing yellow phase in icy conditions so that uphill traffic will not have to stop at red lights, which can cause traffic jams when motorists are unable to regain traction after the light turns green.

City spokesman Brian Coddington said some motorists were confused and stopped at the flashing yellow signals, triggering backups when stopped drivers were unable to gain traction. He advised drivers to pay attention to signals and drive accordingly.

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