Foundation treatment of expansive soils is a complex worldwide problem. Herein engineering behaviors of expansive soils and improved expansive soils with lime (IESL) in the runway area of Xinqiao international airport of Hefei were investigated by means of laboratory experiments and field tests. It was concluded that the expansive soils of mean plasticity index 24.2, and optimum moisture content of 16% in the engineering area, behaved weak and medium expansive potential. The plastic index of improved expansive soil of 7% lime mixed indoor and of 8% lime incorporated on site dropped to 20 and 13. At the same time, the free swelling ratios of IESL reduced up to 6.31 % and 3% relative to 46.5% of expansive soil, and the swelling pressure also decreased from 67.5 kPa to 4.05 and 11.28 kPa, respectively. The mean unconfined compression strength of improved expansive soil of 7 % lime on site was 853 kPa, 71% stronger of that of expansive soils. And the soil response modulus was up to 235.2 MN/m3, 9 times of expansive soils. It was also found form the immersion tests on site that the swell value of IESL was only 30% at most of expansive soils at the same depth. These results indicate that the compacted IESLs have a good bearing capacity, strength and water stability, so the engineering behaviors of IESLs are much better than those of expansive soils, and prove that the modification plan, expansive soils incorporated 7% lime on site could meet the design requirements.