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Did You Know A Runway Pothole Could Slow Down An Entire Airport?

By Sharelle Burt

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One plane taking off on a runway isn’t as simple as it looks. The plane has to be inspected, it has to have a full tank of gas, and the weather has to be on point, to name a few things. The list goes on and on, but the safety of travelers is critical to airlines and airports around the world. So it’s no shocker that this airport decided to shut down a runway temporarily.

Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee closed a runway all weekend after employees found a pothole. Maintenance crews were able to cover the hole, which came after the polar vortex affected the entire area last week. Airport spokesperson Patrica Rowe said that thankfully none of the flights were affected thanks to air traffic control operators switching landings and takeoffs to the east-west runway from the damaged north-south runway.

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The runway eventually reopened at 8:16 p.m. on Sunday.

The fact that the weather can cause potholes easily just gives a clear vision of what drivers in the Milwaukee area have to deal with on a daily basis. “It’s worse than most places I can think of,” Milwaukee resident Jeff Davis said. “They’re every few hundred yards apart or half a mile or whatever.” Thomas Freimund has fall victim to potholes. Last year, it was a dreaded pothole that put a crack in his rim. “Lost a wheel last year,” Freimund said. “Just cracked. Bang.”

Mike Gappa, the owner of Dave’s Garage Inc., actually feels bad for the roads. “The roads took quite a beating,” Gappa said. “I think they’ll be terrible with this freezing weather.” He said he even saw city vehicles pulling in to fix the problem. “We’ll see a lot more repairs come in next week.”


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