Posted at: 03/18/2014 5:43 PM
Updated at: 03/18/2014 6:28 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
With another snowstorm hitting the Northland, many people are dreading shoveling snow, but imagine clearing a runway.
That's what crews at the Duluth International Airport have to do and our brutal winter is putting them to work.
"This one here was kind of unique," Airport Airside Manager Dan Mini said. "We did get a lot of snow and it's been extremely cold."
When big snowstorms are predicted, Mini will have crews working around the clock, but driver Jon Racine likes it.
"I'm retired; so I do this as kind of a winter past time," Racine said. "It's fun. There's lots of big equipment to come out and operate."
The rig of choice on Tuesday afternoon was a sweeper truck. That's the first thing they will clear the runways with before snow gets heavy.
"The runway is in really good condition right now," Racine said. "We've been out here keeping up with it. We don't let it accumulate very much."
When the snow hits harder, they have to pull out the snow plows, graters and blowers.
"I'm always amazed at how smart they are at keeping the runway up and keeping the braking action good," Mini said.
It's that effort that has kept the airport up and running all winter.
"It's been a lot of work, but we haven't lost any flights here in Duluth because the runway wasn't available," Mini said.
Flight problems have only occurred because other airports delay or cancel flights.