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McGhee Tyson sells land to state for Alcoa Highway relocation

Parcels of land totaling 59 acres is a lot for an airport to give up, but it will make Alcoa Highway a much safer and easier road to navigate.

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — McGhee Tyson Airport is selling land to the state as part of TDOT's ongoing upgrades to Alcoa Highway.

They're working to move the highway east, and restructure the entrance to the airport from that major roadway.

At Wednesday's Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Board meeting, the board voted to appraise the 59 acres of land the state wants to buy.

It's a big plot of land that's about to change hands.

RELATED: Alcoa Highway improvement project in the works to make airport more accessible

"They offered roughly $6.5 million, and obviously we don't have an appraisal back yet, but we believe our property is probably worth considerably more than that," said Mark Mamantov, legal counsel to the airport board.

That matters because TDOT needs this land to expand and re-route Alcoa Highway.

"The current roadbed for Alcoa Highway is no longer going to exist and Alcoa Highway will be re-routed through a large piece of property that the airport acquired for future expansion," said Mamantov.

With the sale all but finalized, the airport won't have that land to expand long term.

RELATED: Driving You Crazy: Alcoa Highway construction shifts east toward McGhee Tyson airport

"Land next to an airport is extremely valuable, because you can't replace land next to an airport," said Mamantov.

The airport will have to redo some plans for growth in the future, but Mamantov said this land transfer will totally transform Alcoa Highway for drivers around the airport.

"It'll be like an interstate that runs straight to our airport," said Mamantov.

The section between Hall Road and Hunt Road will be reconstructed, shifting the alignment to the east of the existing roadway, according to TDOT.

"We're gonna have a two-way circle around the airport," said Mamantov.

RELATED: Moving forward on Alcoa Highway

Part of that construction has already started, but it'll last a while.

"It will be several years of serious construction around the airport," said Mamantov. "We don't think it's going to interfere with people using the airport, but we are going to be a big construction project for the next few years."

He's anticipating about 5 years of work, and that's just for this 1.5-mile stretch of the 13 miles of Alcoa Highway planned for upgrades.

TDOT said the whole project is all for safety and ease of access.

Detailed plans of the entire Alcoa Highway upgrades can be found here.

RELATED: Driving You Crazy: Alcoa Highway and Lenoir City construction updates

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