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Alpena County Airport receives funding for new runway sweeper

ALPENA, MICH — Alpena County Regional Airport is receiving a much needed update that will keep travelers safe during winter weather.

The local airport has been granted funds to purchase a new runway sweeper clear the landing strip of snow and ice. Airport Manager Steve Smigelskis says FAA will replace old, outdated equipment.

“For purposes of airport stuff, it’s beyond it’s economical use, so we applied for, and we were granted the ability to purchase a brand new one.”

The current sweeper is 15 years old. For the safety of everyone on board, Smigelski says the Federal Aviation Administration prefers heavy equipment be replaced every 10 to 12 years.

“If you think of an airplane as nothing but an over-sized car on a highway, your ability to steer and brake is very important. With the new sweeper, that’s going to enhance our ability to keep the light snow off and keep the ice from gathering.”

Upgrading the sweeper is just one of many projects that will make the airport safer and more efficient for travelers. The new sweeper is expected to come into use early next year.