Runway Expansion Officially Opens

The city says the project positions the airport to attract more types of aircraft and serve more markets. The city says the project positions the airport to attract more types of aircraft and serve more markets.

Hundreds of state, local and federal officials and members of the public took part today as the Gary/Chicago International Airport officially opened its $174 million runway extension. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says the airport's future "has never looked brighter," thanks to the decade-long project.

The project faced multiple hurdles over the last several years, including large patches of soil contamination and the rerouting of multiple railroad tracks. Crews finished the newly-extended 8,900-foot main runway last month.

The city says the project positions the airport to attract more types of aircraft and serve more markets.

The project came about because of a 1999 Federal Aviation Administration decision mandating Runway Safety Areas. The be compliant, the Gary/Chicago International Airport said it would extend its runway by 1,900 feet.

In a release, Mayor Freeman-Wilson said, "Since taking office in January 2012, the Runway Expansion Project has been one of the priorities of my administration. It has been a long journey to get where we are today, working with multiple regulatory agencies and adhering to federal and state mandates at every step. Today we can celebrate because the Gary/International Airport’s future has never looked brighter.  We thank and commend all the team members involved in this process."

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