Work to expand the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport’s security checkpoint could start as early as the first week in August.
Construction is part of a four-phased Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-approved program announced last month to improve passenger screening operations. The first phase, establishment of queuing lanes and installation of plexiglass barriers and stanchions was finished a few weeks ago and has already drawn positive customer feedback. Expanding the screening room has a couple objectives.
“We’re trying to get rid of the ‘tunnel-look,” said Stephanie Morgan, Airport Manager. “It’s probably been that way since 9-11. We’ve got more people boarding airplanes and TSA has added equipment. Now the room is cramped and closed in.”
One piece of equipment the TSA has not installed, however, is a body-scanner.
“It’s a machine we love to hate,” explained Ms. Morgan. “But we hate pat-downs even more,” she said. “So especially on behalf of our senior citizen customers, we asked TSA to install the newer technology and they’ve been very responsive to our needs.”
To accommodate the new equipment, walls need to be moved, power brought it, and arrangements made for recalibrating equipment after repositioning. Once done, queuing lines are expected to move faster, and though ‘pat-downs’ aren’t going to be a total “thing of the past,” there will be far fewer of them than there are now.
“Construction is expected to take a couple weeks, and while we have that part of the building torn up, we’re going to install additional heating and air condition capability and enlarge the entrance to give a more open-look.”
Asked about the fourth phase,” Morgan would only hint better things to come. “It’s guaranteed to lend a whole new definition to LWS customer service.”
The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport provides quick, cost-effective, convenient, world-wide connections for North Central Idaho, Southeastern Washington, and Northeastern Oregon.