You know you have too much snow, when your dumping ground starts to get dangerously close to airplanes. Portland officials had to open a second snow dump because the original may soon pose a threat to aircraft.
This winter’s relentlessly falling snow has presented the Portland Public Works Department with a unique problem. The primary dumping ground, meant for snow located off Outer Congress, has nearly reached capacity.
Authorities are concerned if any more snow is dumped in the region, it could create a problem for planes taking off and landing at the nearby jetport. Speaking about the unique dilemma, Portland Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky issued a statement.
“It can send a signal that there is some sort of structure there and it could affect their instrumentation as they land and possibly even take off as well. So we’re mindful of that.”
Bobinsky must be referring to the anti-collision sensors fitted on most modern-day airplanes. These sensor arrays constantly monitor for any threats in the vicinity of the aircraft and sound an audible warning in case they detect a potential collision. Though rare, mid-air collisions are a grave threat to airplanes and companies are extra cautious about such mishaps. Hence, aircraft have mandatory sensors, which alert a pilot even if the danger is minor or remote.
Jetport Director Paul Bradbury said the FAA set up protection zones around airports with height limits. The regulations are in place not so much for the larger jets, but to make sure smaller planes have the clearance they require. He said the height of the pile is usually not a concern for the airport.
“Very rare, but in the past it does become an issue that you start to hit the maximum amount of snow, but I can tell you that’s very rare.”
The city agreed to cease adding snow to the old dumping ground immediately. Dump trucks and snow plows have been directed to carry the snow to the new dumping ground off Riverside Street, which hopefully will have ample space to receive the continuous snowfall. This is the first instance the city of Portland has had to use the secondary dumping ground.
Winter has been brutal this year, and the cause of many fatalities.
[Image Credit | News Center, Harbus]