GARY - The Gary/Chicago International Airport is getting a $3.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, that will be used to rehabilitate a taxiway that is an approach to the main runway.
The "Times" reports the announcement on Tuesday fueled great optimism among federal, state and local officials that the move means a step closer to propelling Northwest Indiana's economy to great heights.
The money will complete ongoing improvements to Taxiway Alpha by adding a 14-inch concrete overlay 75 feet wide and 350 feet long.
Airport executive director Duane Hayden told the "Times" the rehabilitation of the airport's taxiways, and all paved surfaces is critical to meet the needs of its current operations, and opens the door for new development opportunities and infrastructure improvements in the future.
Tim Fesko, the governor-appointed chairman of the airport's board of directors, said replacing the current asphalt taxiway with concrete will extend the life of the pavement 20 years and reduce the airport's repair and maintenance costs over that period.
The main runway extension was completed in 2015 that gave Gary the second-longest runway in Chicagoland. From that came the 2018 opening of a customs facility that enables the airport to more efficiently handle international arrivals, as well as the recent construction of new terminals, hangars and other structures, including a cargo facility for UPS.