Security tightened at Lambert Airport

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Some vehicles arriving at Lambert Airport will undergo more stringent inspections under revised procedures announced Monday.

The announcement came on the first full workday after the government elevated the national security alert status to orange -- the second-highest level.

Under the changes, which will remain in effect indefinitely, some vehicles will be inspected at any of five security checkpoints long before reaching a parking garage or drop-off point.

The state Department of Transportation also has agreed to close a westbound Interstate 70 exit to a road leading directly into Lambert's main terminal.

Paul Mason, Lambert's police chief, declined to specify which vehicles would be inspected, though he said they would include those of a size and type that could carry "an amount of explosive necessary to do significant damage."

Police want "to make sure that we inspect the vehicles that might bring or might pose a threat to the vital interests of the airport," Mason said.

"So, in essence, what we have done is expand our perimeter."

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