Northwest Arkansas Roads Still Iced Over Monday
Phones were ringing non-stop in Northwest Arkansas public offices Monday morning (Dec. 9) when agitated residents called in to ask why some roads were still coated in ice.
The winter storm began affecting roads Thursday (Dec. 5). Area schools closed five days through Tuesday (Dec. 10) as a result of road conditions.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation maintain all state highways and interstates. Officials declined to comment on the difference between the state’s highway maintenance and Missouri’s, but said crews have been working around the clock to clear the roads.
“The second you hit that Arkansas border, it’s dangerous,” Joplin resident Kim Paonessa said. “There`s nothing. There’s ice everywhere, it’s horrible.”
Missouri road crews label U.S. 71 as a continuous treatment route and kept a close watch on the road, according to Angela Eden with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
U.S. 71 runs through Bella Vista. Many residents of Bella Vista were not pleased with the road conditions.
“It`s really bad,” Robert Mansfield said. “They need to do a lot better job.”
Austin Hill said he thinks that it’s just a hard situation for road crews.
“The problem with the roads is that is refreezes overnight and I don`t think the road crews can keep up with it, cause by the time it gets melted out, it refreezes,” he said.
Bella Vista Mayor Frank Anderson said that he’s been in contact with ARDOT, but doesn’t think they’ve done much to clear the roads.
“The indication was that they would try to get enough attention to them that they could,” he said. “Obviously they haven`t been able to put much attention to them and to the best of my knowledge, they’ve only been up and down them one time and that was fairly early in the storm.”
The Benton County Road Department had road crews work through the weekend. Crews would go home at sundown because the ice was too hard to penetrate at night, according to Terry Nalley with the road department.
Nalley said that he’s learning a lot about what works best through the recent weather and has been talking to other agencies about the best tactics.
“It has been a learning curve for me, but I feel like the plan of action that we had and our crews has worked really, really well,” he said.
Roads in Benton County are expected to be cleared in the next couple of days as the temperature rises.