The show in the sky could lead to snarls on the ground this weekend when tens of thousands of visitors head to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for its biggest-ever air show.
The 2012 air expo will bring together 20 acts and three headliners topped by the Air Force’s elite Thunderbirds demonstration team. If the weather complies, organizers expect more than 350,000 people to gather on the base. For weather information, go to Page B10.
The Washington State Patrol will be looking for traffic problems along Interstate 5 and state Route 512. Trooper Guy Gill urged drivers to resist any temptation to pull over and watch the show.
Here are the details you’ll need to make the most of your visit, including new information about the free shuttles for visitors. There are now four locations for free shuttles instead of six. Visitors older than 16 must bring identification.
Where: McChord Field.
When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Flying demonstrations: 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. both days.
Cost: Free and open to public. People can buy premier seating for $15 or access to a “Flightline Club” for $75.
Main Gate access: Exit 125 to McChord Field off Interstate 5.
Barnes Gate access: From Pacific Avenue South, turn west onto Military Road and follow it until you reach the Barnes Gate.
Free parking: Directions will be given upon arrival at a gate.
Free bus service: Yellow buses will take visitors from four off-base parking lots, and they will get priority access through the base’s gates. The buses will run about every 30 minutes, starting at 9 a.m. The last bus will leave the expo at 5 p.m.
The parking lots are at:
• Cheney Stadium, 2502 S. Tyler St., Tacoma.
• Lakewood Towne Center (behind Target), 5618 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. S.W.
• Pierce Transit state Route 512 Park and Ride, 10617 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma.
• Pierce Transit Tacoma Dome Station, 610 Puyallup Ave. E., Tacoma.
On-base shuttles: Free shuttles will be available for people with Defense Department civilian or military IDs. They leave from the former Madigan Army Medical Center parking lot at East Lincoln Avenue and Coolidge Avenue, and from Carter Lake and Heartwood elementary schools.
Air Expo information: 253-982-3976.