Terminal Upgrades Following Damaging Derecho

A line of severe storms with damaging wind gusts and embedded tornadoes, known as a derecho, tore through central Illinois last June. The winds caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage throughout the region – and Willard Airport didn’t escape unscathed.

The biggest damage was the roof, part of which was ripped off in the high winds. The airport also experienced flooding due to the roof damage.

Even though the airport sustained heavy damage from the storm, operational impacts were minimal, the terminal opened the next day for flights, less than 24 hours after the event. “Our team, with support from the university, performed immediate assessments, and mobilized emergency response crews within hours” said Willard Executive Director Tim Bannon. “While permanent repairs were pending, temporary measures were activated, restoring operations to the terminal quickly, a success story given the circumstances.”

The damaged sections of the roof have now been replaced, and the interior of the terminal is fully rebuilt. The Airport took the opportunity to upgrade the passenger boarding terminal lighting – it’s now all LED. And new ceiling panels have brightened the gate area, creating a more modern feel for travelers.

In all, the damage totaled nearly $1 million, and took over six months for restoration to be completed.

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