Lambert Airport Opens New Runway:
Reduces Weather Delays, Serves Passenger Growth
April 13, 2006
Lambert Airport Opens New Runway
Reduces Weather Delays, Serves Passenger Growth
St. Louis, April 13, 2006 – The first new runway at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport® in 50 years will reduce weather delays and allow the Airport to manage increasing passenger demand for air service, St. Louis and Airport officials announced today.
More than 750 people saw federal, state and regional elected officials cut a ribbon marking the opening of Runway 11-29 at Lambert Airport. The new runway is the centerpiece of the $1.059 billion Airport Expansion Program begun in 1998 to expand Lambert’s airfield capacity.
“Critical to continuing the region’s economic momentum is an airport that is efficient, so the airlines can serve our growing demand for air service,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay. “Since 2001, the City of St. Louis clearly has been retaking its place as the strongly beating heart of the central Midwest, with new investment being made in every corner of our City. Now we celebrate another milestone: a new world-class airfield complex.”
The new runway eliminates a major problem responsible for causing delays in poor weather conditions, said Airport Director Kevin C. Dolliole. “Previously, our two major parallel runways were too close together to allow simultaneous aircraft arrivals in inclement weather. This backed up traffic and caused delays,” he said. “The new runway is far enough away from our existing north parallel runway to provide dual, simultaneous arrivals in more than 99 percent of the weather conditions that we typically have.”
Runway 11-29 went into service today, along with two parallel taxiways and a number of connecting taxiways. The 9,000-foot runway provides the Airport the ability to manage growing passenger demand.
In 2005, the number of passengers at Lambert boarding aircraft – also known as “enplanements” – rose 10 percent over 2004. Lambert’s figure was well above the 4-percent average growth experienced by airports throughout North America. Enplanements of passengers on connecting flights through Lambert – the Airport’s hub operation – were up more than 20 percent last year over the year before.
“One of Lambert’s purposes is to provide runways, taxiways and the like that air carriers can efficiently use to serve passengers,” Dolliole said. “The new runway allows us to provide a very efficient airfield to meet passenger and airline demand at their present levels, as well as levels we will see in the foreseeable future.”
“The Lambert Expansion shows what can when we work together for the common good,” Mayor Slay said. “Thousands of area citizens working for hundreds of local companies, organizations and governmental agencies have combined to build the largest capital improvements project in St. Louis history. It is on-time and on-budget.”
The largest capital improvements project in St. Louis history, the Airport Expansion Program involved more than 550 companies and organizations, about 80 percent of which were from the St. Louis area.
“As a community, we have already reaped benefits from the Lambert Expansion because most of its $1 billion budget has gone to St. Louisans and St. Louis-based companies, including a number of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises,” Mayor Slay said.
To foster widespread economic growth in the region, the City of St. Louis and Lambert Airport broke the overall program into more than 115 design, construction, demolition and other projects. Approximately 100 small, emerging Disadvantaged Business Enterprise companies were involved in the program. Levels of minority and female construction workers exceeded federal guidelines.
An estimated nearly 14,000 jobs were involved in the Expansion, including an estimated 4,000 construction workers. More than $400 million was injected into the regional economy by the program since its inception in September 1998. Construction began in July 2001.
Prior to beginning construction, the Expansion launched a Land Acquisition Program to purchase about 2,000 residential and commercial parcels. Land acquisition officials in 1998 committed to tender offers to all property owners before the runway became operational. They reached that goal in February.
In addition to building a new airfield, the Expansion Program built the first traffic tunnel in the State of Missouri as part of a new segment of Lindbergh Boulevard. Natural Bridge Road and five other arterials were rebuilt or modified. The Expansion funded the design and construction of a new elementary school in the Pattonville School District and a new fire-fighting facility in the Robertson Fire Protection District. The Expansion also moved 13.5 million cubic yards of soil, which is enough that a 6-foot-by-6-foot pile of the material would stretch from St. Louis to Seattle.