The massive undertaking of clearing snow at an airport

WWNY The massive undertaking of clearing snow at an airport

TOWN OF OSWEGATCHIE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Think you’ve moved a lot snow this winter? Try keeping up with the guys who clear the Ogdensburg International Airport. Their driveway is 6,400 feet long and 150 feet wide.

“It took us just under an hour this morning. We were opened up to the point where we could accept a flight,” said Darrick LaMay, airport operations and maintenance specialist.

That’s just the Ogdensburg International Airport runway. The taxiway is just as long. But then again, they have the tools to do it - such as a mammoth snow blower.

“It’s amazing the amount of snow this thing will move. … It’s astronomical,” said Greg Dawley, airport operations and maintenance specialist.

It moves 3,000 tons of snow per hour to be precise. Then there’s the plow.

“When you’re plowing with a 22-foot plow, you move an awful big pile of snow in a hurry,” said LaMay.

It’s serious business. Runways are double-checked for traction before planes ever touch down. The goal is to keep it open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

There are probably not too many passengers on any plane thinking of all it takes to keep these runways safe. But there are two people on that plane that definitely do.

Pilots make the final decision on whether it’s safe to land.

“A lot of times they’ll compliment us on how nice a job we did and how good the runway was. That’s the Number 1 priority here is getting them on the ground safely,” said Dawley.

The airport is in a bit of a rough patch right now. In the fall, its flagship carrier Allegiant pulled out. But these guys are making sure the welcome mat is always out.

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