A new snow blower will be used to clear the runway at Casper-Natrona County International Airport this winter.

Airport officials say the 14-foot tall vehicle has a casting distance of over 150 feet and comes with a 22-foot broom attachment.

Airport manager Glenn Januska says the new vehicle will be used in tandem with a pair of snow blowers already in the airport’s fleet.

“We have two blowers right now that are older that have the capacity to do 3,000 tons of snow per hour,” Januska said. “This new unit has the capacity to do 7,500 tons per hour, or about two tons per second.”

Januska says the new snow blower should greatly accelerate snow-clearing operations at the airport.

“It’s hard to be able to say how much time (will be saved), because it all depends on how much snow is accumulated, but, with the 7,500 tons per hour capability, it will be twice as fast.”

Januska says the federal aviation administration paid 95 percent of the snow blower’s nearly $700,000 cost. Three percent of the cost was picked up by the state.

Januska says the airport paid the remaining two percent.