Sweepers help airports crews clear runways

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As a passenger inside the airport, you don't really get a look at what's going on out on the runways- you just hope you're safe.

Keeping them clear is an exhaustive effort that takes a team of 20 working rotating, 12-hour shifts.

Acres and acres of concrete are cleared of snow at the Quad City International Airport to provide a safe landing for travelers like Jason Wells, who's from Virginia and is here on business.

"Missouri last week and it was worse there, two weeks before that worse there,” said Wells. “This isn't a big deal."

According to Bryan Johnson, the airport's Assistant Director of Aviation, when it comes to clearing the runways and ramps, sweepers are typically used most often.

Sometimes plows are needed and on occasion snow blowers get the white stuff cleared.

"Instead of shoveling walkways and driveways, we're shoveling runways and taxiways," said Johnson.

It's a constant back and forth process to get and keep the snow cleared.

"If you let it pile up too deep, it gets very difficult to work with."

A pretreatment is also used in certain cases like freezing rain and when it comes to determining whether it's safe to land, the decision falls on the pilot who relies on information from the Airport Authority and Federal Aviation Administration.

"I'd rather they didn't land the plane when the weather's bad," said Elizabeth Klingman, who’s from Moline and was just visiting South Beach.

But, with 20 workers clearing a path, more often than not it's business as usual and the planes continue to come and go.

Passengers who have to travel a lot for work, like Wells, appreciate the airport's effort.

"The airport here is a lot smaller than Chicago. They literally have an army out there."

For a look at your flight’s status, go to http://www.qcairport.com/