The Spokane Airport Board submitted a TIGER Discretionary Grant Application for a request in the amount of $5,000,000 to provide matching funds to complete a multimodal transportation infrastructure safety improvement project at Spokane International Airport. TIGER Grant funding will be utilized to fund design and construction services for these proposed improvements. Planning and formulation services have been previously completed for the project with funding provided by the Sponsor as well as project partners and stakeholders. The total cost of the project is estimated at $20,907,000.
This project’s primary objective is to improve safety.
Just this year, airlines have added five new nonstop destinations which have accelerated year-to-date growth in passenger activity by 10%. To compliment this success, two additional nonstop flights will be added to in early 2018. In addition, air cargo tonnage has increased 8% compared to 2016. All these factors demonstrate a strong economic recovery for the Spokane region, which can be further supported through this important multimodal infrastructure project.
The Airport’s growth also correlates to additional traffic including personal vehicles, shuttles, ride-share, and taxis, as well as the truck, freight, and manufacturing traffic transiting on the Airport’s inbound and outbound roadways and crossing Spotted Road to access U.S. Highway 2 and Interstate 90. Spotted Road is a part of the Critical Urban Freight Corridor and also provides access to the Airport Industrial Park with two very busy inbound and outbound airport access roads known as Airport Drive. The Spotted Road and Airport Drive intersections and geometry are dangerous and improvements are necessary to reduce safety issues. The combination of lower speed traffic trying to cross the inbound and outbound airport access roads with higher speed traffic at two intersecting points has led to multiple routine accidents many of which are serious injury accidents and even some fatalities. These problems continue despite the installation of additional traffic safety measures. Studies show a grade separate interchange at the site would reduce overall accidents at the interchange by 80% resulting in a reduction in fatalities, injuries, and property damage.
Given the increasing commercial and freight traffic associated with the Airport’s growth, the most prudent safety and efficiency solution available is to grade-separate Spotted Road from the Airport inbound and outbound access roads. This grade-separation project will separate the Critical Urban Freight Corridor route from traffic traveling to the Airport, improve the level of service, create a safer connectivity between different modes, and reduce freight mode conflicts. The realignment will continue to connect with the Primary Highway Freight Network, which is important to maintain and is valuable to the region’s freight modes.
The Airport’s annual economic impact of over $750 million is a testimony to the integral role it plays in the regional economy. The project will be an investment in improved traffic safety and modal connectivity while also supporting continued passenger and freight growth essential to the regional economy.