MKAA Airfield Modernization and Runway 5L-23R Reconstruction

At the center of Tennessee’s growing eastern region, the McGhee Tyson Airport extended possibilities with a new runway. The $134 million expansion — the largest construction project in the airport’s 84-year history — required significant reconstruction. To meet current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design and safety standards, the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority embarked on a multi-year Airfield Modernization Program.

CHA’s program management and final design reconstructed Runway 5L-23R and taxiway pavements within the runway safety area. The new 10,000-foot runway allows heavier planes to take off and remain in the air for extended periods, leading to fewer connections and more direct flights for passengers. Designed with innovative technology — planes can now take off and land in all weather conditions. This decade-long, phased project now allows aircraft to carry more fuel and passengers for longer distances — exceeding the aviation needs of the Tennessee community.

Project summary

84 yrs.

Largest construction project in the airport's 84-year history.

10K ft.

Runway length was extended to 10,000 feet for heavier planes.


More than 5,000 LED airfield lights were installed.

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Bill Barley, PE*

Bill Barley, PE*
Vice President, Business Practice Leader, Senior Principal Engineer

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Bill has over 35 years of experience in planning, design, and construction of public and private infrastructure projects. His technical specialty is airport planning, design, and construction management. Bill has directed, managed, and performed projects ranging from large multimillion-dollar airport expansion projects at major hub air carrier facilities to small general aviation airport improvement projects.