A Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority committee on Wednesday approved a layout plan for the proposed Oak Ridge Airport. The plan will now be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration for review and approval.
As reported in a Wednesday story, there are additional steps and approvals required. But if all goes well, construction on the airport could start in late 2018 or early 2019, officials said Wednesday.
Slides included in this story include more information about the proposed airport. We encourage you to read the earlier story as well.
The airport could cost an estimated $35 million to $40 million, officials said Wednesday. It would be funded with a mix of federal funding, state aeronautical commission funding, and local funding from the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, or MKAA.
The Oak Ridge Airport, which could accommodate general aviation and corporate aircraft but not airlines, would be on the south side of Heritage Center, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge. It would have a 5,000-foot runway running parallel to State Route 58 that would accommodate nearly all corporate aircraft. Airport construction could take about 1.5 years.
The airport could be expanded later with a full taxiway, more hangars, more ramps, and another 1,000 feet of runway. The runway could also be widened from 75 feet to 100 feet. The larger runway could serve the largest general aviation aircraft.
The airport project started with a 2009 request from the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, or CROET, which redevelops former federal property for private commercial and industrial use. Officials said it has broad political support, including from the state’s governor and legislative delegation, Oak Ridge City Council and Roane County Commission, state and federal agencies, the business community, and regional pilots.
There were three milestones in the first phase of the project: identifying potential sites in 2011, evaluating design and costs in 2012, and defining the uses and economic benefits in 2013.
The project became eligible for FAA funding in January 2015, when it was included in the National Program of Integrated Airport Systems. In August that year, the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission funded development of an airport master plan.
The final phase has six milestones, Stair said:
- U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finding of no significant impact (January 2016),
- develop master plan (April 2017),
- FAA review of master plan,
- secure funding sources,
- transfer land, and
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