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Gary/Chicago International Airport’s runway reopens ahead of schedule

The main runway (Runway 12-30) at Gary/Chicago International Airport (GYY) reopened this weekend – more than a day early – following a massive three week rehabilitation and rebuild of more than 4,000 feet of the 8,859 foot runway. The $7.9 million runway rehabilitation project was critical to extending the lifespan of the runway and increasing weight limits to allow the airport to service bigger and heavier aircraft. Approximately 22,000 man hours of labor were logged to complete the project early and on budget.

“The rehab of the airport’s main runway was critical to meet the needs of our current users and opens the door for new opportunities in the future,” said GYY Authority Chairman Tim Fesko. “The future of the airport is bright and we’re excited by the growing momentum.”

The project team, led by Superior Construction of Portage and the airport’s general engineering firm NGC Corp. of Indianapolis, replaced aging asphalt with concrete and installed new storm drain piping. In all, 73,577 square yards – or 15 acres – of new concrete were laid in just two weeks. The project began on April 20 and was completed on May 19.

“This was a massive undertaking and the entire team is to be applauded for their incredible work completing the project early and within budget. We appreciate the help and support of our tenants and users during this time and look forward to continued growth and achievement at the airport,” added GYY Executive Director Duane Hayden.

The rehabilitation of GYY’s main runway is the latest in a series of capital improvements at the airport to increase service capabilities, enhance the user experience and maximize the airport’s assets for the region and state. This has included:

  • Rehabilitation of Airport Road and removal of the EJ&J bridge in partnership with the Gary Redevelopment Corporation
  • Rehabilitation of GYY’s crosswind runway (Runway 2-20)
  • Initial two phases of rehabilitating the airport’s apron and ramp
  • Installation of enhanced radar and navigation systems to increase airport usage during bad weather and imperfect flying conditions, including the installation of a new GPS precision approach system and the current replacement of the airport’s MALSR (Medium Intensity Approach Lighting System With Runway Alignment Indicator Lights)

GYY is also finishing construction of a new permanent general aviation Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility, which is on track to be completed and open mid-year. Completion of the CBP facility will allow users to fly into GYY from any destination in the world without having to stop somewhere else to first clear customs.

The GYY Authority Board has also approved the construction of a new East Corporate Hangar, which is expected to be fully constructed by this fall.

“I want to congratulate current Airport Chairman Tim Fesko and former Chairman Steve Mays, as well as current Airport Director Duane Hayden, former Director Dan Vicari and the entire project team. The strides being taken at the airport move us closer to being the true third airport in the Gary/Chicago metropolitan region. The growth of our existing business and the inquiries from corporate and commercial interests confirm our vision of the airport as an economic engine,” noted City of Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

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