Canopy company to make repairs at airport after collapse

A collapsed canopy roof over the parking garage at Indianapolis International Airport likely won't be fixed until the end of August.

The canopy was damaged this winter for a second time since the terminal garage opened in 2008. The canopy's designer, Span Systems Inc. of Manchester, N.H., has agreed to repair the fabric structure, so the Indianapolis Airport Authority won't file an insurance claim, airport spokesman Carlo Bertolini said.

The airport will pay up to $39,500 for the repair, with the balance covered by Span Systems. Bertolini approximated the total cost of the repair at around $200,000, based on a similar event in 2011.

One reason the replacement could take as long as six months is that the fabric, manufactured by St. Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. in Paris, is sourced from overseas, Bertolini said. A portion of one of the nine sections of canopy fabric failed on Feb. 18. Snow fell into the top floor and garage interior, but there were no injuries or cars damaged.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority is still trying to determine the cause of the failure, Bertolini said.

The airport chose Span after the original canopy, built by Bird-Air, collapsed on Feb. 5, 2011. Ice and snow storms had dumped six inches of wet, heavy snow at the airport. At that time, three sections came down, damaging walkways and escalators and smashing rental cars.

The 2011 canopy failure cost about $600,000 to repair, of which the airport paid a $100,000 insurance deductible, Bertolini said.

Span's design was supposed to have prevented future collapse, airport officials said. The company's modifications included attaching the fabric to each steel truss, instead of every third truss, and tightening the fabric to distribute the weight of snow more evenly. Airport officials believed that those modifications helped limit the second failure to one section near the fabric's attachment point.

Correction: A previous version of this story said incorrectly that Span Systems would cover the entire cost of the current repair.

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