Of all the projects in which the RDA has been involved, none has tested us more than the runway expansion and railroad relocation project at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. But perseverance and teamwork of all the partners involved in the project is paying off, with the final major barrier to completion now poised to come down later this year.
Since 2006, the RDA has invested a total of $50 million in the project, which has involved not only the new runway, but also extensive environmental remediation, construction of new rail bridges and tracks, relocation of a NIPSCO substation, burial of power lines and other utility work, construction of a long box culvert to address drainage issues, the building of a four-lane vehicle overpass on Airport Road and many other projects large and small.
As a result, the airport is poised to contribute significantly to the regional economy. Based on similar projects elsewhere around the country, expansion of the Gary/Chicago International Airport will create more than 2,400 new jobs in Northwest Indiana by 2025, more than half of which will be in transportation, warehousing and manufacturing. These jobs will generate and estimated $169 million in disposable income annually and have an overall yearly economic impact of more than half a billion dollars.