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New Tunnel Near Lambert Opens

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The new tunnel will open while crews finish building a new runway on top of it (UPI photo)

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The first traffic tunnel in Missouri will opened this (Monday) morning in St. Louis. It takes a quarter mile of Lindbergh Blvd. underneath a new runway at Lambert Airport.

Missouri Department of Transportation district engineer Ed Hassinger says the tunnel will be monitored 24 hours a day by video cameras. That's one of several safety systems built into the tunnel.

"There's fans in there that blow out the carbon monoxide and of course if there were a fire, take care of getting the smoke out of the tunnel," Hassinger said. "There are detectors for smoke, carbon monoxide, a lot of those kind of things. So, it's a fairly complicated project."

Hassinger says planners were cognizant of the potential for terrorism in the tunnel. "The tunnel is designed with those kind of things in mind and that's one of the reason why we do monitor it 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that we find situations when they occur and those things aren't going to happen."

vehicles with hazardous materials will be prohibited from passing through the tunnel. The $121 million project can accommodate six lanes of traffic.

The new runway - part of a $1 billion expansion project at Lambert - is scheduled to open in 2006.

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