Knoxville Airport Authority Seeks Public Input On $108M Project

June 24--The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority will hold a public workshop Wednesday to discuss the environmental impact of a proposed $108 million upgrade of the runway system at McGhee Tyson Airport.

As part of an effort to the make the project more green, an operation will be set up on site to recycle concrete from the old runways for use in the new construction, airport officials said.

The airport authority, which operates McGhee Tyson and Downtown Island airports, has signed off on a project in which more than 90 percent of the pavement at McGhee Tyson will be replaced or redone, says airport authority President Bill Marrison. It will be the largest construction project undertaken at the airport, he said.

Federal law requires the airport authority to do an environmental assessment of the impact of the project and the assessment will be discussed at the workshop, which will be held 5-8 p.m. in the Chilhowee Room of the Hilton hotel at the airport, 2001 Alcoa Highway.

"All the concrete that we break up off the old runway will be reused where appropriate," said Brian White, vice president of engineering and planning for the airport authority.

A concrete plant will be set up on site to produce concrete for the new runways and recycle materials from the old ones, he said. This will make construction more efficient and avoid traffic from trucks bringing in cement or hauling concrete to a landfill, White said.

The project will take place in four phases over six years, according to CHA Consulting, the Nashville firm that is project manager. One of the airport's two runways will be open at all time so that there is no disruption in service. Work begins late this summer with the installation of an instrument landing system on the runway nearest the terminal.

Before the workshop, the airport authority will hold its regular monthly meeting at 4 p.m. at the administrative offices at McGhee Tyson. A few items related to the runway project are on the agenda, such as consideration of an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration involving a runway instrument landing system.

A copy of the draft environmental assessment is online under Documents at

Copyright 2014 - The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.