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Eagle River Airport works to clear snow from runwaysSubmitted: 01/23/2018

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northwoods saw a good amount of snow over the past two days. That meant Tuesday was snow cleanup day. Parking lots and streets take a lot of work to clear, but clearing an airport is an all-day task. 

Clearing an airport after a snowstorm takes heavy machinery, man power, and time. 

"It's hard work. It's hard on the machines, hard on the people," said Eagle River Airport Manager Robert Hom. 

Hom started working to clear the Eagle River Union Airport around 5 o'clock Tuesday morning. 

He's no stranger to spending early mornings in his plow truck.

"Even if it snows a quarter of an inch, which most people would call a dusting, we're out there removing it off the runway because it has to be as bare as possible," said Hom. 

Hom tries to remove any trace or snow and ice so the pavement is completely bare. The snowless surface means less slipping and sliding during takeoff and landing. 

"Our runway is 5,000 feet so it's almost a mile long. But it's six to seven car lanes wide so it's like an interstate wide, like down in Minneapolis or Milwaukee," said Hom.

It usually takes about two hours before a plane could safely depart or arrive. But finishing the job takes a whole day, and sometimes longer. 

"You can't just drive your plow truck and push it aside because airplanes have wings that go out further than the runway. So you can't have big piles of snow," said Hom.

A plane took off Tuesday morning around 11:30 a.m. Two more were supposed to fly into the airport Tuesday afternoon. The weather didn't close the airport, but ultimately it's the pilot's choice whether they will fly. 

"It's always up to the pilot in command, we give advice that we think they should wait another day," said Hom.

Even though Eagle River saw about nine inches of snow, it's just another day on the job for Hom. 




Story By: Rose McBride

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