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April 24th 2024 | Written By Press Release | Share

Ford International Airport Breaks Ground on $8.5 Million Snow Removal Equipment Building

Ford International Airport Breaks Ground on $8.5 Million Snow Removal Equipment Building

Expansion to Add 60,000 Square Feet, Enhancing Snow Removal Operations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 24, 2024 – The Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority broke ground today on its snow removal equipment building, or SRE. The $8.5 million investment will expand the existing Airfield Maintenance facility by over 60,000 square feet to support critical operations and accommodate forecasted passenger growth at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

"We are thrilled to celebrate this significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to further enhance operational efficiency while ensuring the safety of our staff, passengers and partners," said Airport Authority Board Chair Dan Koorndyk. "This transformative expansion will accommodate the Airport’s increasing passenger demand while optimizing space for equipment and operations."

The SRE building will be managed by the Airport Authority’s Airfield Maintenance team, which is responsible for maintaining more than 45 vehicles and equipment, including specialized snow removal machines designed for the aviation industry. The snowplows are twice the size of those used by county road commissions, measuring up to 26 feet wide and 78 feet long, enabling swift and efficient clearing of runways even in challenging weather conditions.

"We continuously strive for excellence in every aspect of our operations, and the groundbreaking of our snow removal equipment building showcases our dedication to providing world-class service to our community," said Ford International Airport Authority President and CEO Tory Richardson. “The Airport Authority Airfield Maintenance team has been nationally recognized for their expertise in snow removal operations, receiving multiple awards over the years for their efficient and innovative processes.”

During snow events, snow removal operations include seven trucks or more in a conga line formation, swiftly clearing runways when there is three inches of snow or more. The team can plow two miles of runway in under 30 minutes, ensuring minimal disruption to airport operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been a key partner in helping the Airport Authority secure funding to support the project through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The FAA’s Detroit Airport District Office Manager John L. Mayfield Jr. provided remarks at today’s event on the impact of this project.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build safer and more sustainable airports,” said Mayfield. “Ford International Airport has chosen to modernize their infrastructure by expanding their existing 57,000 square foot snow removal equipment facility by an additional 60,716 square feet.

“The expansion of the building will allow all snow removal equipment to be consolidated in the same area and protect it from the weather to extend its useful life. Snow removal equipment is critical to remove the presence of contaminants such as snow, ice or slush on airfield pavements which causes hazardous conditions that may contribute to airplane incidents and accidents,” Mayfield continued. “Therefore, protecting the airport’s investment in snow removal equipment from the elements allows for a more efficient response to weather events.”

Congresswoman Hillary Scholten has been instrumental in supporting infrastructure improvement projects at the Airport, further contributing to its growth for the benefit of the West Michigan community.

“West Michigan is on the move and our GRR airport is helping people come and go to keep pace with a modern economy,” said Congresswoman Scholten. “As one of the fastest growing small hub airports in the country, GRR has delivered with excellence no matter the weather.

“This brand new and expanded snow removal facility is going to help us update equipment that keeps snow off the ground and planes moving on time. Our snow removal team is the best in the business, and they deserve state of the art facilities to help them do their job, keep passengers and crew safe and everyone on time!”

The project is expected to be completed by this winter season and will support 130 trade jobs. FCC Construction, Inc and MTC will serve as the main contractors, with DLZ and C&S Companies supporting design and construction administration.

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About the Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the second busiest airport in Michigan, serving business and leisure travelers with nonstop and connecting flights on six airlines. The Ford International Airport is managed and operated by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. For more information, visit or follow the airport on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @FlyGRFord.

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Topics: Press Release, Construction, Events