Crusader staff report
Rieth-Riley Construction Co., a Goshen-based firm with a location in Gary, was given a multi-million dollar contract to resurface the 7,000-foot original runway at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.
Rieth-Riley has done major roadwork in cities in the Midwest. On Monday, March 13, the Gary Airport Authority selected Rieth-Riley out of three bids. During the project, Rieth-Riley will replace the asphalt with concrete. The company will start the first phase of the project by resurfacing 2,000 feet at the east end of the runway. The airport project is expected to last three years.
The second phase will be done in 2018 when Rieth-Riley will pave up to 3,000 feet of the runway’s mid-section. The remaining portion will be resurfaced in 2019.
The Gary airport’s Executive Director, Dan Vicari, said by resurfacing the runway in phases, the airport will be allowed to remain open during the project. In one news report, Vicari said the last time the entire runway was resurfaced was in 2004. In 2015, the runway was extended to 8,900 feet, but the newer portion was built with concrete. When the project is completed, the entire runway will be made of concrete.
Construction officials say concrete lasts longer than asphalt and is more expensive to install. With traffic from the Gary and Chicago Air Show and plans to lure more airlines to the airport, airport officials believe a concrete runway will be strong enough to handle the load.
Rieth-Riley will be paid $4.2 million in 2017, Vicari said in news reports. A federal grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will help pay for the project.
While officials say Rieth-Riley will hire subcontractors to help with the project, none of the firms are from Gary. They include C-Lee Construction Services Inc. of Griffith, Midwest Electric of Crown Point and Dyer Construction.
In news reports, officials were not able to provide specifics on what type of jobs would be created by the resurfacing project.
Rieth-Riley has been in business for 20 years. According to its website, the company in the past two decades has resurfaced roads and repaired bridges in cities in Michigan and Indiana. The company has won numerous awards and praise for its work.