WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) — Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Department of Transportation and Fayetteville Police are reporting several accidents and road closures due to icy conditions.
Light freezing drizzle caused major traffic headaches during the morning commute on Thursday (Feb. 28). With temperatures dipping below 30 degrees, bridges and overpasses quickly froze, and the accidents began long before sunrise.
The Arkansas State Police and Fayetteville Police shut down Fulbright Expressway from Gregg Avenue to North College Avenue (U.S. 71 Business) after multiple accidents along that stretch of road, particularly around the overpass. The Wedington Avenue bridge over I-49 soon followed, with it being shut down as police awaited street crews to treat the slick overpass.
In Springdale, a rollover accident occurred at Don Tyson Parkway in front of a 5NEWS photographer. The driver was OK. More accidents occurred at the U.S. 412 exit, causing all northbound lanes to be shut down there, as well.
Accidents were later reported at Porter Road, where northbound lanes were shut down, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Drivers were stuck for hours on the interstate, with some trying to turn around and drive into oncoming traffic to get off the interstate, making dangerous conditions even more dangerous.
At 7:40 a.m., U.S. 412 was shut down both ways due to accidents at the Wildcat Creek overpass. South Fulbright Expressway (Cato Springs Road) was shut down for a time, as well, in Fayetteville.
Not long afterwards, an icy overpass and several accidents forced law enforcement to shut down Interstate 49 at the U.S. 412 exit so the wrecks could be cleared and the road treated. T
Accidents and slick roads were reported in Benton County, causing parts of Interstate 49 in Lowell to shut down. The interstate was reopened nearly two hours later. Traffic was backed up throughout Fayetteville, Springdale, Lowell and Rogers and slowed all the way to Bella Vista.
Highway Department trucks were called in to treat the overpasses, but snarled traffic made progress slow.
All of Interstate 49 was finally reopened about 9 a.m.