City Crews Address Challenges Of Snow Removal

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)—After the first snow of the year, Fort Smith Police responded to several collisions and stalled vehicles. Now crews are preparing for the possibility of more winter weather.

“The night before the snow came, I saw snow plows out at maybe 11 o'clock at night, and I was like OK, so they're getting prepared,” said Jessica Ervin. “I wake up the next morning and the roads are terrible.”

Ervin said she had to drive to Waldon from Fort Smith soon after the snow hit.

“The roads were slick,” Ervin said. “I drove slow, but I mean the Fort Smith roads were way worse than driving to Waldron on a winding road.”

The Fort Smith Street Department is used to complaints like Ervin’s. Supervisor Greg Riley said resources are limited. They have four plow trucks with spreaders and two pre-treatment trucks.

“We do everything we can and try to explain that to people,” Riley said. “When you get that much ice or snow in that short of period of time, you can`t cover 500 miles of road with four trucks.”

Riley said below-freezing temperatures did not help either.

“It was super cold,” he said. “The only thing that was melting anything was our salt, plus what little sunlight we got that day.”

Chad Adams with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department said they had around 70 trucks out keeping the roads clear, but with possible ice in the forecast later this week, he said they cannot stop the highways from freezing. If it rains beforehand, that will wash anything pre-treated away.

“If it's ice, it's going to be a lot nastier this time than this past event,” Adams said.

The Fort Smith Street Department said its top priority is clearing the main roads like Kelley Highway, Phoenix and Jenny Lind. Then they move down the list.

Riley said roads were pre-treated all day on Thursday (Jan. 6) into the night until 2 a.m. When the snow hit, crews switched over to spreaders with plows.

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