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Airport crews battle snowfall
IF PEOPLE in town think they've been having to shovel their driveways over and over again this winter, consider what maintenance crews at the airport have been doing.
Crews at Northwest Regional Airport had just four days without precipitation in the last three months of 2011, says the facility's manager.
While the amount of rain that fell worked out to 16 inches, the real story is in snowfall, said Carman Hendry.
“Just between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, there were 47 days of snow – 314 centimetres or 10.3 feet,” he added.
Keeping the runways clear meant using 46,750 litres of fuel in vehicles and going through six broom cores used to sweep the runways over the same period.
“Our plows go first and right behind are the sweepers. Our goal is to get down to asphalt. These broom cores are metal and they do wear out,” said Hendry.
The new year hasn't provided much of a let up, either.
From Jan. 1 to Jan. 4, 1.7 feet of snow fell.
All this snow has been enough to turn vehicles in the airport's parking lots into round humps of snow.
“You may want to put a shovel in your backseat,” advised Hendry of those parking at the airport.
Crews have also been using a lot of urea, a chemical compound which melts ice.
But they've been spreading urea in efficient chemical spreaders, said Hendry.
“These do the job so well, we've cut urea use by 50 per cent. And that has an environmental and financial benefit,” he said.