ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Lambert Airport passengers appear nonchalant as they walk past knotty plywood window coverings and other remnants of the Good Friday tornado.
Traffic volume has returned to normal, but Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says it’s going to take months, not weeks to get the facility back to normal.
“It’s probably going to be that four-to-six month window before you see all the boards down and the windows replaced, because they are special fabrications,” Niebruegge said.
Also expected to take months– the roof repairs on concourse C. “It looks like the concourse itself is going to be intact,” Niebruegge said, “So from a structural standpoint, it will be a rebuild, not a total reconstruction.”
The total dollar amount of the storm damage at Lambert remains unknown. The cost estimate will include the value of lost business, which is covered by the airport insurance policy.
Niebruegge says the Lexington Insurance company has already cut a check for $10 million. And the damage is not expected to come close the maximum value covered — $830 million. The policy has a $100,000 deductible.
One bright spot in the disaster, the hard-charging Niebruegge was praising her public relations man Jeff Lea. Just before the storm hit, Niebruegge wanted to install a series of expensive art glass windows the airport had received as part of its airport spruce-up program. But Lea persuaded her to “wait until after Easter.”
“They probably would’ve been ruined,” Niebruegge said. “I’ve been thanking him all week.”