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Crews Working Around the Clock on Arkansas' Highways

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will have crews working around the clock.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department continued its effort to clear roads across Central Arkansas Saturday morning after temperatures plunged overnight. 

The wintry mix that fell on roads and transitioned to water or slush refroze on numerous roadways.  Because of those conditions, highway officials are urging drivers to stay off area roads.

Even so, drivers who had to venture out reported pretty good conditions on major roadways Saturday morning.  Traffic was slow-going but reports of accidents were few and far between.

"I think we have a long several days ahead of us," said Randy Ort from the Highway Department in reference to the work that's ahead.

More than 1,000 employees will be working 12 hour shifts to help clean the more 16,400 miles of Arkansas highways.

Ort said of the workers, "They take a great amount of pride in this work."

"This is work that's important to themselves, its important to their own families, its important to every Arkansan who wants to travel."

As trucks head out to treat the streets the will do so with a homemade mixture of sand, salt, and calcium chloride.  The mixture is 20 machine buckets of sand, 2 machine buckets of salt, and 2 pallets of 50 pound bags of calcium chloride put in by hand. 

Ort said, "We use a chemical and an abrasive mixture.  The abrasive being the sand.  Sand helps with traction, when you have icy conditions, sand helps your tires get a little bit of a grip, whereas the salt, or the other chemicals, that are with it, that's what helps the melting process."

The Highway Department expects to continue working on the highways until sometime next week. 

"This will be an around the clock effort until at least early next week.  As long as there is moisture in place that can freeze on the roads, we will be out there."
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