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Lambert Airport One Year After Good Friday Tornado

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It was one year ago this Sunday, when the Good Friday tornado ripped through St. Louis.

And some of the worst damage was at Lambert Airport, which is still trying to recover one year later.

Officials said it would take more than a year to put the airport back together again, and it has, with $19,000,000 of the $25,000,000 in contracts let to complete the work.

On Friday, Lambert officials gathered to mark the occasion by thanking everyone who played a part in the airport's recovery the night of the storm, and all the days and nights since.

As far as rebuilding the airport goes, most of the big projects are done, but passengers may be confused because the airport's $70,000,000 renovation program, which began before the tornado, is still underway, so there will still be a lot of plywood walls and detours around for about ten more months.

Still, Mayor Francis Slay marvels at how quickly most of the storm damage has been repaired.

"When you think about the hundreds of windows that were broken out, the amount of things that were damaged and broken and out of place and then everything we have been able to accomplish, we are very, very pleased with the result," Slay said.

Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says because insurance is paying for the damages to areas that were set to be improved anyway, Lambert has actually been able to enhance its remodeling plan.

"You take the fact that another $25,000,000 or so was added in to the $70,000,000, we are putting over $100,000,000 into the airport, and the fact that we did not have loss of lives, we can say it was a disaster that turned into a positive thing," she said.

As a reminder of just how far they have come, Lambert has also put together a display near the Vineyard Restaurant on the west end of the terminal, which commemorates the tornado.

Among the items on display,  a piece of copper roofing material that blew off Concourse C, which reopened earlier this month.

Still, there are several smaller projects remaining from the tornado that will take the rest of the year to finish.

Meanwhile, the airport renovation program is still underway and will continue for about another ten months.

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