Medford airport receives runway snowblower

The Medford airport will soon be the owner of a new snowblower officials say will clear runways more efficiently.

Officials said the new tool cost between $500,000 and $600,000, but did not have the exact cost available. It has been paid for with a federal Airport Improvement Program grant.

Airport Director Bern Case said the new snowblower will clear runways faster.

When snow is cleared off the runways, which are 150 feet wide, it stacks up.

"So even with 1 inch of snow when you plow it, you make a mountain of snow on the side," Case said.

Case said runways can sometimes be closed for hours during snow removal, and that the new snowblower will drop that closure time significantly.

"It's going to make our snow removal program a lot better," Case said.

Airport officials said the device will be attached to a truck. One truck will plow snow from the runway, then the snowblower will follow and blow the collected snow mounds off the runway into a nearby field.

National Weather Service officials said the Medford airport sees an inch or more of snowfall on two or three days a year on average, with half an inch of snow on three or four additional days a year.

The snowblower is expected to arrive sometime this summer.

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