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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • When snow falls, streets take priority

  • With a four-letter word - S-N-O-W - appearing in the local weather forecast, the Hannibal Street Department is preparing for the winter ahead. One part of the preparation process is not having to decide what gets plowed first - city streets or the airport’s runway.
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  • With a four-letter word - S-N-O-W - appearing in the local weather forecast, the Hannibal Street Department is preparing for the winter ahead. One part of the preparation process is not having to decide what gets plowed first - city streets or the airport’s runway.
    Leon Wallace, city street superintendent, stated during last month’s Airport Advisory Board meeting that city streets will always take priority. Wallace added he is willing to send his troops out to help at the airport.
    “After the streets are done we don’t mind coming out,” he said. “It just depends on our hours (behind the wheel). In some cases it may have to wait until the next morning.”
    George Walley, president of the airport board, praised Wallace and his Street Department personnel for the snow-moving help they have provided at the airport in recent winters.
    “We understand they’ve got to take care of the main arteries in town,” he said.
    The Street Department’s assistance at the airport has helped the city save money. Following the record snow in 2011, the city paid nearly $83,000 to private contractors for snow removal. Of that amount, $5,250 went to Bross Construction for clearing the airport’s runway, taxiway and tarmac.
    At the time, Mark Rees, director of public works for the city, estimated it took Bross a day to two days to get the snow cleared.
    The airport has a truck with a blade, but it’s not efficient when large amounts of snow fall, such as in February of this year when Hannibal was hit with two major snows in less than a week.
    “The (airport’s) little truck was not going to move the 10 inches of snow,” said Robin Carroll, Hannibal Regional Airport’s fixed base operator.
    The airport was closed from Feb. 21 until Feb. 25. It was shutdown again on Feb. 26, reopening on Feb. 27. After both snows Street Department personnel were used to reopen the airport.
    The dynamics at the airport are different this winter than they have been previously. Now in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week is Survival Flight, an air ambulance service.
    During last month’s airport snow discussion, Lori Brown, manager of Survival Fight’s Hannibal airport base, said her crews will need to be able to get in and out of the airport. She also noted that pilots typically won’t land if the snow is drifting. Crews must also be able to get the helicopter in and out of its hangar in snowy conditions, she said.

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