For Immediate Release

March 17, 2005
Contact: Tony Molinaro
Phone: (847) 294-7427

CHICAGO — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today signed a Record of Decision approving a main runway extension, proposed runway safety area enhancements, and other infrastructure improvements at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

The planned changes are aimed at increasing the margin of safety at the ends of runway 12/30, helping the facility better accommodate larger aircraft that use the airport, and expanding the terminal so it can handle current and forecasted levels of passenger traffic more efficiently.

“Improving safety at airports throughout the Chicagoland area is a priority for the FAA,” said Cecelia L. Hunziker, Great Lakes Regional Administrator. “These planned improvements at Gary continue the positive steps that we are taking for safer and more efficient air travel.”

With this decision, the Gary/Chicago Airport Authority now is one step closer to beginning the airport project. Before construction, the airport is expected to complete preliminary actions such as land acquisition; relocation of the EJ&E Railroad; and will continue environmental mitigation in areas affecting wetlands and hazardous waste.

As part of its hazardous waste mitigation actions for soil and groundwater contamination on properties adjacent to the airport, the Gary/Chicago Airport Authority will undertake a clean-up program in coordination with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hazardous substances or contaminated soil will be removed, treated or contained in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Investigations and analysis also will continue at those sites that require additional testing and detailed remediation plans.

As part of its Record of Decision, the FAA also has approved the airport authority’s revised Airport Layout Plan.

Copies of the complete FAA Record of Decision will be available next week for viewing at public libraries in Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, and Merrillville.