It may not be a piece of high-tech airplane navigational equipment, but Cape Girardeau Regional Airport manager Bruce Loy says a new $160,000 snowplow could have the same effect for regional travelers: reducing takeoff delays.
"With this new plow, we certainly could have fewer delays when bad weather hits," Loy said. "The faster we can get the snow off the runway, the faster we can take off."
The plow should be purchased by this summer, Loy said, thanks to a $150,000 grant recently awarded to the airport from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Missouri Department of Transportation, which funnels the grants, announced that $150,000 grants would be given to several regional airports, including Cape Girardeau and Perryville, Mo. The money is to be used for improvement projects and requires a 10 percent match in local funds.
Loy said the money could have been used for other work; the Cape Girardeau airport needs some fencing, computer equipment and the taxiway needs some work.
"But we went with the snowplow because the airport doesn't have any kind of snow equipment, none whatsoever," he said. "I've never been to an airport like that. It's a need for us."
Loy described the new plow as a large, wide-blade plow, which is built specifically for uses at airports to clear runways and ramps.
Last winter was mild, and Loy said the plow likely would have only been used about three times. "But you know how winter can get around here," he said. "There will be winters that we will use it quite a bit."
The snowplow will also have an affect on other departments, he said.
Currently, snow is cleared from the runways by the Public Works stormwater crew, using mainly pickup plows. Loy said they may still need Public Works' help, but to a lesser degree.
"We'll be able to assist in a big way," he said. "I'll probably have one of my maintenance workers out here do it, so it will free them up by getting it done quicker and with fewer of their guys."
Perryville city administrator Craig Lindsley said they will use the money to repair the runway that was slightly damaged by the flood of 1993.
"Overall, the runway's in great shape," Lindsley said. "But a couple of spots have heaved up and made it a bit bumpy. Getting that fixed is the top priority. If there's any left, we'll look at putting some new asphalt on the shoulders."
Lindsley said he wasn't sure if the $150,000 would cover the costs of the runway. He said the city had applied for $300,000 the year before and didn't even apply this year. The city was awarded the grant, he assumed, because of last year's application.
"I'm not complaining, don't get me wrong, it's wonderful," he said. "Now we just have to figure out how much of it we can get done for what they've given us."
335-6611, extension 137