McGhee Tyson Airport lands $27.9M grant
The agency that operates Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport has received a $27.9 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to complete the next phase of a multiyear runway expansion that is the most expensive project the airport has ever undertaken.
The grant will enable the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority to rebuild the 9,000-foot-runway and extend it another 1,000 feet.
The expanded runway should reopen in 2019, said Bill Marrison, the airport authority’s president.
The project “enables us to modernize the airfield and be able to better serve our customers — the airlines, the military and general aviation,” Marrison said.
The longer runway also means it would be possible for the airport to add to add nonstop flights to Europe and the West Coast.
“That is a major step forward,” Marrison said.
The runway replacement is part of a four-year plan to upgrade the runway and taxiway system at McGhee Tyson.
The project, the largest ever undertaken at McGhee Tyson, involves repaving or rebuilding more than 90 percent of the airport’s paved surfaces at the airport. It is intended to modernize the airport and bring it into compliance with changing federal regulations.
The first phase involved maintenance work on the runway closest to the airport terminal building so that it could remain in use while the second runway is being expanded.
The current phase, which began in October, involves the replacement and extension of the runway farthest from the airport terminal. The federal money will be used for site preparation, earthwork and drainage improvements.
Money for the project also will come from the state’s transportation equity fund and the airport authority.
When it’s done, the reconstructed runway will enhance safety by meeting design standards to correct the pilot’s line of sight and remove vertical curves along the runway centerline, according to a news release from the FAA.
The entire project will cost $108 million and should be completed in 2020 or 2021.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Michael Collins
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