Sea-Tac Airport to spend millions on safety upgrades

Sea-Tac Airport is moving forward with a $9 million plan to improve safety and help travelers get around more easily.

SEATAC, Wash. — Sea-Tac Airport is moving forward with a $9 million plan to improve safety and help travelers get around more easily.

The plan was approved Tuesday night at the Port of Seattle Commission meeting and includes a project that would install metal bollards along the sidewalks of the departures and arrivals areas, as well as to the entrances of all six skybridges and in the middle of the sidewalk in the Courtesy Vehicle Plaza.

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“It’s to help protect our passengers and the travelers that are here,” Port spokesman Perry Cooper said. “Bollards, number one, to make sure that any bad guys aren't trying to drive any vehicles through doors.”

The bollards are designed to prevent a car from making its way onto the sidewalk into the crowds of people or into the terminal itself.

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Traveler George Schnibbe liked the idea.

“Anything that’s for safety,” he said. “Sometimes when you’re standing right here on the curb it can be a little intimidating when cars go by.”

But others weren't sold.

“It may be helpful, but it doesn't seem like a huge concern,” a traveler named Selene said.

She said she was more concerned about the resulting traffic delays from installing them.

“It's going to take them forever to do it,” she said. “I can’t see them organizing it in such a way for people to be in and out easily. No construction job ever goes that easy.”

“How is this going to impact arrivals and departures?” KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked Cooper.

“We've got plenty of construction that people already know about in and around the airport from the south side to the north side, so we do try and plan these projects outside of our busy travel period,” Cooper said, “into September and beyond, into the fall.”

At the same time, they'll be adding 19 more ADA access ramps and loading zones and sloping the sidewalk in arrivals to make it easier for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities to get in and out.

The project will also include newly resurfaced and repainted sidewalks. Cooper says the markings will help direct people to doors.

“What we're improving is a space that really hasn't been improved or updated for about 50 years,” he said.

The $9 million is the second phase of a safety enhancement plan costing about $16 million total. The Port recently finished its first phase, installing shatterproof glass in the main terminal and skybridges.

Cooper said all the money for the projects comes from fees from tenants and airlines in the airport, as well as parking garage fees, not Port taxes.