Airport officials say runway expansion on track for 2014
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent August 12, 2013 7:42PM
Updated: September 14, 2013 6:27AM
GARY — The Gary/Chicago International Airport runway expansion will be done ahead of schedule, officials said Monday, despite a report over the weekend that it won’t be finished in 2015.
John Clark, principal of JClark Aviation and the airport’s main consultant on the expansion and its public-private partnership, said a report regarding his remarks at a recent Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission meeting were “taken out of context.”
Clark said that while he told the NIRPC board that the runway expansion could be finished as late as 2015, the plan was never to take that long.
“There’s so much focus on us missing the deadline, but the actual deadline in the paperwork is 2015,” Clark said during the Airport Authority meeting Monday morning. “I never made the statement that the project will be delayed.”
Rather, Clark, the airport and the FAA worked on a fast-track timeline to get the project completed by December 2013. Now that the project has run into the major contamination issues it has at the superfund site, as well as the railroads still not having signed all of the licensing agreements they need to sigh yet, the deadline being pushed back to September 2014, which still falls well in line with the FAA’s deadline.
“We’re still in compliance with the FAA and our funding mechanisms,” Clark said. “The project is in a good place right now.”
In other business, the board voted 5-0, with board member Silas Wilkerson absent, to approve a contract not to exceed $2.7 million with Chicago-based Brandenburg Services Co. to haul the superfund contamination to the Newton County Landfill. Interim Airport Director Steve Landry said the airport negotiated with the landfill and hauler directly in order to save money.
The board also unanimously approved retaining Airport Attorney Patrick Lyp through September 30, as part of the transition team for the new Airport Authority Board. The new board can then opt to retain him as the attorney or not.