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Social Media Photo Encourages AHTD Action

It was this photo taken on U.S. Highway 71 at the Arkansas/Missouri line showing the Missouri side clear and the Arkansas side packed with ice.
...the perception that it created was everything was good in Missouri and everything was bad in Arkansas."
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The recent winter storm left some roads to the north of Little Rock covered with ice and not traveled for days.  

Now, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) is coming forward saying it didn't do a good job in some parts of the state.

And it all started on social media.

It was this photo taken on U.S. Highway 71 at the Arkansas/Missouri line showing the Missouri side clear and the Arkansas side packed with ice.

Randy Ort with the AHTD says you can't fight a photograph circulating on social media.
 
"It showed results we were not pleased with," Ort said. "That was a localized photograph. It showed one area but the perception that it created was everything was good in Missouri and everything was bad in Arkansas."

Ort says AHTD is taking ownership, starting with adopting new methods and purchasing new equipment.

"We're investing in what we call belly plows," Ort said. "These are dump trucks that are a little bit larger dump trucks that have the plow blade mounted beneath the body of the truck."

They are also getting a tow plow for parts of interstate 40 to 540, west and northwest Arkansas. It will allow for multiple lanes to be cleared at one time.

Some feel this should have already been done.

"We are getting more ice and snow, than when I first moved down here initially, and I think they need to be more prepared for it," Evin McElway said.

Others say AHTD is moving in the right direction.

"That's good, that's great, they are looking at what they should have done and what they need to do in the future," Linda Liddell said.

So photos like that one won't show up on social media next time old man winter hits.

"Those are not the type of results we strive for," Ort said.

Highway Department officials say they regularly talk to the Missouri Transportation Department, and based on those discussions, use beet juice as a salt additive to pre-treat roads and bridges.

Ort also says workers should not be criticized, saying they worked hard and long hours.
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