Newly extended runway opens Thursday at Gary/Chicago International Airport

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GARY, Indiana — An expansion of the runway at Gary/Chicago International Airport is seeing its opening day.

Airport spokeswoman Emily Tapia-Lopez says the $174.1 million extension of the airport's main runway opens Thursday. A formal opening ceremony is scheduled July 10, a day before the return of the Gary Air Show after a two-year hiatus.

The last bit of pavement for the extension was laid earlier this month. Airport officials say 22,011 cubic yards of concrete were put down during construction over the past two years.

The project is meant to give the airport the ability to handle larger planes. It lengthens the runway from 7,000 feet to 8,900 feet. Federally mandated safety zones also were to be added to each end of the runway.

The expansion has been in the works since 2006.

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