April 9, 2006 - Posted at 1:55 p.m. CST
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The most expensive improvement project in St.
Louis history is finally ready to open, after nearly a decade of
lawsuits and protests.
A new billion dollar runway at Lambert Field in St. Louis
will be officially opened on Thursday. But as it opens, airport
officials are acknowledging it may not be needed.
Lambert used to be a busy airport, with long waits for takeoffs
and flights the norm. It was the primary hub for T-W-A when the the
runway plan was approved in 1998.
But last year, air traffic at Lambert was down 36 percent since
the September eleventh attacks, partly because American Airlines
cut its St. Louis flight schedule by half.
Construction of the runway meant knocking down more than
two-thousand homes and other structures in Bridgeton. And St.
Charles residents protested the increased noise.
Elected and aviation officials will open the nine-thousand foot
runway during ceremonies on Thursday.