ARKANSAS (KFSM)- The U.S. Interstate System has reached its 60th Anniversary and with that, Arkansas is ranked third in the country for the percentage of interstate travel by large trucks.
"The Interstate Highway System is the backbone of the American Economy," Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) spokesperson, Danny Straessle said. "This is how we get around the year produce, and manufactured good everywhere."
Travel on the interstates continues to increase causing congestion, but the AHTD said this means more people are working, the economy is growing, and more vehicles are entering the roadways.
"They've improved a lot," truck driver, Howard Friely said. "When I started driving, most of the interstates weren't complete all the way through to the West Coast, so there's been a big improvement and the roads have gotten a lot better."
The State Highway Department has plans to focus on the condition of the roads.
"At least in the next five years, you will see the highway money in Arkansas spent on taking care of what we already have," Straessle said.
When the economy grows, more developments are built as the Highway Department tries to make traveling on interstates much easier for everyone on the road.
Truck drivers said the roads should be safe and more focus should be put on repairing things like potholes on the roads.
"Just keep improving the roads and make it safe for us and safe for the cars out there," Friely said.
Straessle said drivers should be worried when they aren't seeing construction and updates to the interstates and highways. He also said while the focus is on improvements for high-trafficked areas, the Highway Department does recognize the rural highways and the importance of them. He said construction means economic growth.
Arkansas has 755 miles of Interstate Highways and Straessle said they will be rehabilitating at least 455 miles of those.
For the complete study of States with heaviest large truck travel or more information, visit the research group's website.
For more information about the Arkansas State Highways Department, visit their website.