Chesterton Tribune

Ground broken on runway extension for Gary airport

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The long-awaited runway extension at Gary/Chicago International Airport (GCIA)officially began on Tuesday, as officials broke ground on an overpass project needed to make room for the longer runway itself.

The total cost of the extension: $153 million. Funding for the construction of three bridges to re-locate existing rail lines—two of the overpasses for train traffic, the other for passenger vehicles—comes from a $30 million grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), “matching moneys raised by local agencies.”

When completed in 2013, the new GCIA will measure nearly 9,000 feet.

“On behalf of the Gary/Chicago International Airport Board of Directors, I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work and patience,” GCIA President Nathaniel Williams said. “Not only will this project make an immediate impact on the region by creating an estimated 1,000 construction jobs over the next three years, it will enable Gary/Chicago International Airport to attract new business and continue to fulfill its potential as a hub for economic growth.”

In May 2010, GCIA unveiled a comprehensive business plan, developed by consultants Landrum & Brown and funded by the RDA, “which identified the runway extension as crucial to increasing air traffic,” GCIA said. “The report found that, with the longer runway, the airport would be in an excellent position to serve charter and leisure vacation flights operating out of the Chicago area. That business would serve to place the airport on a sound financial footing from which it could explore further opportunities.”

“There is currently no other single project in Northwest Indiana that stands to have as significant an impact on the region’s economic development than the extension of this runway,” RDA Chair Leigh Morris said. “The airport is following the steps laid out in the comprehensive plan, which will allow the airport to reach its full potential as a leading economic engine in this area. The RDA is proud to support this effort, and we look forward to returning here in 2013 for another celebration—this time, a ribbon-cutting.”



Posted 5/26/2011