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East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) at Heritage Center, on the site of the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (a.k.a. K-25) and adjacent or roughly parallel to Oak Ridge Turnpike (Highway 58).
Several parcels of land from CROET, DOE, and the private sector have been transferred to the City. The remaining federally owned land awaits transfer.
The draft Environmental Assessment document with public comments and consultant responses has been submitted to the FAA and TDOT Aeronautics. We are awaiting a record of decision from the FAA and anticipate issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). Finalization of the preliminary engineering report is awaiting final record of decision on the Environmental Assessment. Final Design will initiate after the aforementioned reports are finalized.
The goal is to have planes in the air in 2026.
No significant funding from the City is anticipated at this time for the project. For grants which require matches, funding will either come from grants from other agencies or in-kind donations. Further authorization would be required from City Council on activities not supported by existing, approved funding.
Approximately $22+ million in funding is currently available and allocated for the airport project through the Appalachia Regional Commission (ARC) and the TDOT's Aeronautics Economic Development Fund (AEDF). In-kind contributions from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) for the value of land are to be transferred at minimal cost for this project. The City has received an additional $11 million in State funding for land acquisition, bringing total State investment in the project to nearly $30 million. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to formally determine the contribution it will make to the project, but it is anticipated to be $10 million in funding.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has provided a $40,000 grant for the project.
In March 2021, UT-Battelle Development Corporation contributed $500,000 to assist with the project.
EnergySolutions has offered to donate an underutilized railroad track where part of the proposed airport's 5,000-foot runway will go.
Based on a November 2023 estimate, the project construction is expected to cost about $60 million.
Yes, the State has committed $29.6 million to the Oak Ridge Airport.
The airport, with a 5,000-foot runway, will support general aviation in the Oak Ridge Corridor region, as current capacity is limited in this market and does not support projected growth and future demand. The future airport will support growth in the business and industrial sectors. The airport will also support the State's drive to advance nuclear energy innovation. The DOE has voiced their support for the project and stated that it will benefit their operations in Oak Ridge.
The airport will leverage existing assets. A secondary goal is the diversification of the Oak Ridge and Roane County economies that will be negatively impacted by anticipated long-term reductions in federal employment that currently numbers approximately 12,000 jobs. Specifically, the design and construction of a new Oak Ridge Airport at the ETTP will support the objective of new manufacturing and industrial investment with high-growth potential in the emerging carbon fiber and alternative energy industries.
The airport project is being managed by the City Manager's Office. The project has received widespread regional support, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Chambers of Commerce in Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and Blount County.
Yes, Oak Ridge is the largest community in Tennessee without an airport for general aviation. This airport would not fly large passenger flights. Instead, it would support general aviation aircraft.
The noise contours were done as prescribed by the FAA and found to be within acceptable limits. The decibel levels from the airport for residents living in the east end of the Preserve (50-54 dB) would be similar to those of a refrigerator running or a quiet office setting.