Plans for the long-awaited Oak Ridge airport have continued to progress in recent months, and leaders of the project are gaining confidence that the town could have a general aviation airport in the next two years if plans fall into place as hoped.
The city has had several iterations of airport plans over the years, but Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said this time is different.
“This one has legs and if we’re going to get one, it’s the one that will make it work,” he said last week.
As it currently stands, plans call for a 5,000-foot runway, a partial parallel taxiway and about 40 hangars on 171 acres that was acquired from the Department of Energy. It is part of the former K-25 uranium enrichment facility site, which the Department of Energy has been working for more than a decade to reclaim for industrial use and is now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park.
The total cost of the project is estimated to run from $47-55 million.
Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, which oversees McGhee Tyson Airport and Downtown Island Airport, is managing the project.