Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hand-Me-Down: `F-4' Airport Plan Is Back for Another Look

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hand-Me-Down: `F-4' Airport Plan Is Back for Another Look

Article excerpt

Consultants tell Lambert Field it must expand to meet the growth expected in passenger load in the next two decades, from 23 million now to 42 million. Airport officials are considering six proposals to add a third parallel runway and soon will recommend one to the Airport Authority. The newspaper is looking at the cost and impact of each proposal.

The Lambert Field expansion plan that for years has generated letters, lawsuits and loud harangues - the F-4 Plan - has been spruced up and tucked in with five other options in the airport's master plan.

Both opponents and proponents of airport expansion call it an unlikely choice because it would interrupt airport operations during construction.

The new F-4 - revised in 1993 - takes its name from the positioning of its three parallel runways. They would be rotated slightly, or "canted," from the angle of Lambert's two east-west runways. Adding a third runway would allow the airport to use two runways during bad weather. Only the crosswind runway would stay in place.

The airport would need to buy only 420 developed parcels, 320 of them midpriced homes. That's because it's already bought many properties in the runways' paths under its noise mitigation program. That figure compares favorably with the 2,000-plus parcels required by other plans.

The plan also would keep the terminal in place but expand it westward.

Even so, it's pricey. At $2.33 billion, it's among the three most expensive options. Lambert would have to pay to relocate McDonnell Douglas Corp.'s assembly plant and powerhouse off of Banshee Road; the original F-4 plan did not call for such relocation.

The airport also would pay a huge price for ripping out two runways and realigning them with the new, third runway rather than simply extending the existing runways as in other plans. That would make the plan the most disruptive, requiring a complicated choreography akin to rerouting an interstate interchange at rush-hour.

Roughly, the airport's boundaries under the Revised 1993 Plan would begin in the Carrollton West subdivision west of Interstate 270, dip south of I-70 toward the east and bite into Berkeley east of I-170. …

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