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Gary airport runway plan clears hurdle

Updated: June 14, 2014 6:19AM



GARY — A major remaining hurdle in the runway expansion project at the Gary-Chicago International Airport has now been jumped, although several still remain.

Interim Airport Director Bridget B.R. Lane and Project Manager Dan Vicari told the Airport Authority that the two other railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, filed on May 5 the application to relocate from the dormant Ft. Wayne Line to the CSX Gary Branch to the National Transportation Safety Board. The two lines run parallel to each other, and application approval will mean CSX and Norfolk Southern will share the Gary Branch line.

The application is crucial to the project because the Ft. Wayne line runs across the new Canadian National line and needed to be vacated before Canadian National could run any traffic on it.

Lane called the move “a major domino that had to fall” and thanked the people at all levels of government and industry who helped make the application happen. Vicari added the application will face a 30-day comment period before final approval.

Once the application is approved, the airport will still have to work with the utilities surrounding the CN line, Airport Attorney Lee Lane said. The railroad requires utility rights to be subordinate to its own, meaning NIPSCO, for instance, would need to seek CN’s permission before doing any work on or around the CN property.

A couple other land acquisitions are awaiting the results of a National Environmental Policy Act review before completion, Vicari said.

The airport also announced it has seven positions open now, including airport manager and assistant manager, maintenance manager and now finance manager in the wake of Carolyn Keith’s resignation. Keith had been the airport’s finance manager since November but “left of her own choice,” Airport Spokesman James Ward III said.

Three other positions will be listed on the airport’s website Monday, Ward said. Those interested in applying for the positions, as well as any lawn care company interested in applying to handle the airport, are encouraged to go to the airport’s site at www.GaryChicagoAirport.com for more information.

Interim Airport Manager Duncan Henderson said that the personnel transition for the airport will be complete Monday.



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