May 14--The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority approved a proposal Wednesday to launch a $108 million upgrade of the runway and taxiway system at McGhee Tyson Airport.
The board approved two requests to kickoff the project -- $30,490 for an FAA inspection of a new instrument landing system and $511,066 to CHA Consulting for initial planning. CHA will be project manager of the effort.
The project, called the Airfield Modernization Program, is needed to meet changing FAA requirements, Randal Greaves, chair of the board's Capital Improvements Committee, told board members.
"The good news is that 95 percent of the cost will be funded by federal and state moneys," he said.
About 90 percent of the $108 million will come from federal Airport Improvement Program funds, five percent through the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Transportation Equity fund and the rest from airport authority revenues, said Bryan White, vice president of engineering and planning for the airport authority.
No local tax money will be involved, said Bill Marrison, airport authority president.
Bill Barley, CHA's market segment vice president for aviation, outlined the project for the airport board. The runway system needs upgrading to meet FAA requirements. Marrison noted that parts of the system were built during World War II, other parts in the 1950s and some upgrades and repairs were done in the 1970s and 1980s.
Parts of both runways at McGhee Tyson do not meet FAA grade requirements, and some taxiways cross the middle third of a runway, Barley said. The FAA dislikes this design because the middle third is where aircraft taking off reach their highest ground speed, he said.
The project will replace or repair nearly 90 percent of the airport's pavement, Marrison said.
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