• Sara Doan

ARDOT facing multiple challenges as they try to clear roads of snow

Updated: Mar 4


JONESBORO, Ark- Arkansas Department of Transportation crews worked all through the weekend clearing roads from last week’s ice storm.


But the snow arrived before they could finish.


ARDOT says they are doing their best, but you might just be stuck inside for a few days.


“They were so icy, and we didn’t get to them at a time where we were able to get enough material on it to get it up and break it off the road. So, we still had some that were still icy again before the snow started falling last night,” says Brad Smithee, ARDOT district five engineer.


Crews worked until after dark on Saturday night and were back at it on Sunday, continuing to clear roads.


Smithee says once the snow started to fall, ARDOT started to clear the priority routes.

With the snow impacting the region at different times, Smithee says that helped them prepare.


“Folks to the one side of the storm know timing and, they know better when to start moving. The fact of our communications system being able to relay what’s going on. It really helps us to be more efficient with getting the event started,” says Smithee.


Smithee says they are doing their best to clear the streets of the multiple inches of snow.


But they are facing a few roadblocks.


“We had a truck turn over on its side this weekend. We’ve had engine failures and some breakdowns. Some of those things can be repaired. And some just don’t recover from that next day or this week.”


Equipment isn’t the only hurdle they’re facing, as the temperatures are too low for rock salt and sand to work.


“We are at eight or nine degrees right now. Rock salt doesn’t lower the freezing point of water down to these numbers. It doesn’t work. So, the only tool we have right now is pushing snow, plowing snow. And so any of that thin layer that’s laying,” says Smithee. “The dust or the sheet of ice that has now developed, it’s not going anywhere. And there is not a single thing in our arsenal that we can do about it.”


Because of the wind moving the snow, Smithee says some roads aren’t too bad, but others are very slick.


He is asking drivers to take it slow.


Smithee also asks people to give space to ARDOT trucks as they clear the roads.


He says you want to give them around 50 to 100 feet of space.

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