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Gary airport stock (copy)

An aerial view Gary/Chicago International Airport.

GARY — The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority approved a $3.4 million contract Friday to complete rehabilitation of the airport apron, authorized a lease with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to operate the airport's long-awaited customs facility, and approved the start of design work for the third phase of a main-runway rehabilitation project.

Rieth-Riley Construction will perform the third phase of the apron rehabilitation project, which will focus on the eastern part of the airport's apron. Work is expected this year and next.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility is currently under construction. The revenue-neutral lease formalizes the arrangement between the airport and federal government.

"This project is on track, scheduled to be completed in June," airport Executive Director Duane Hayden said. 

Project Manager Patrick Lee, of Gary-based Lee Cos., said Customs and Border Protection representatives recently inspected the project. "It's going to be a real efficient, good-looking building," Lee said.

The design work for the main runway rehabilitation will prepare for the second phase of a two-year project. The first phase is going on now, at a cost of about $8 million. The work will require closing the runway for as long as three weeks this spring.

The rehabilitation work includes replacing the current asphalt surface of the older portion of the main runway with concrete.

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Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.