ROGERS (KFSM) - The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department approved $2.8 million to cut down on wrong-way crashes on interstate and freeway off-ramps.
Steps were taken by highway officials after a new report detailed the severity of wrong-way crashes throughout Arkansas.
"The crash analysis really speaks volumes as to what`s going on out there on the interstate system," said Danny Straessle, a spokesman with AHTD. "It`s a very serious problem -- deaths have resulted, and injuries have resulted."
Thirty-eight wrong-way crashes were recorded on interstates around the state in 2011, 2012 and 2013, some of them in Northwest Arkansas, according to department data.
A man died in crash on Interstate 49 near Rogers in January 2015 after police said he hit another driver head-on after heading in the wrong direction.
Days later, another wrong-way crash on I-49 in Springdale resulted in minor injuries for both drivers.
"Distracted driving is at an all-time high, and that translates into not just people running into each other going the right way on the interstate," said Straessle. "It also translates into people getting on the interstate going the wrong way."
Newly proposed changes will include the installation of road reflectors, which will illuminate red when people are traveling in the wrong direction, lowered and brightened road signs and updated road markings.
Plans will most likely take until the second half of 2016 with bid-letting expected to take just as long.
The project could take as much as a year until completed, according to Straessle.