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What’s in the master plan that could transform Lambert Airport

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Lambert International Airport held a three-hour open house Thursday, and officials released new details about a master plan that could transform the aging airport.

A preliminary estimate puts the cost at nearly $45 million per airport gate. The master plan envisages 62 goals, which means a total of more than 2.7 billion US dollars.

The airport’s distinctive domes, which were part of the original Lambert Field that opened in 1956, remain. Almost everything in the airport’s two terminals would change.

A steady crowd streamed through the open house, which was furnished with large poster boards outlining possible changes. They would be larger and more expensive than the ongoing $1.5 billion renovation of Kansas City Airport.

Lambert’s two terminals would be combined into one. There would be one major security checkpoint instead of the current four. Southwest Airlines Terminal 2, opened in 1998, could be converted to another use, such as a hotel.

The short airport drive from Interstate 70 would add significantly more time, actually giving people time to follow the signs. The new single terminal would have 62 gates (up from the current 54) with wider 110-foot concourses (up from 75 feet) and provide much-needed space for everything from more connecting flights to the Southwest to more shops and restaurants in the concourses Traveler .

John Van Woensel is the vice president of WSP, which is the lead advisor on the new master plan. Woensel told the crowd that none of the changes at Lambert are currently possible.

“Do we want to expand the toilets?” he asked. “Then we have to dismantle the restaurant. If we want to expand the restaurant, then we don’t have space for passengers to wait on the planes. There’s just no space to do all those things.”

“Thirty-two percent of Southwest traffic is connections. We want it to continue to grow,” said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge. “You won’t be able to build more parking lots without this plan. You won’t be able to build more concessions, more retail, all those things that increase sales and lower your costs. When you think of four different checkpoints, that’s costly. You have devices that are duplicated. You have the workforce that is being duplicated.”

“It’s time,” said traveler and former airport worker Rosemary West. “I’ve been to several airports. Ours is nice. The people are great, but we really need an update I think.”

With public input, the master plan can be completed by autumn. Construction would begin at least four years away, with airport bonds, federal grants, and passenger and flight user fees covering the cost.

State and local taxes would not be used for funding.

https://fox2now.com/news/whats-included-in-the-master-plan-that-could-transform-lambert-airport/ What’s in the master plan that could transform Lambert Airport

Nate Jones

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