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Agencies Encourage People to Stay Off Roads When Winter Weather Strikes

As snow started to build so did the problems for road crews this weekend who say they faced many issues in the last winter weather event.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A blanket of white, and accidents for that matter, covered most of central Arkansas over the weekend, leaving many wondering what happened.

"Yeah we had some issues Friday night," said Randy Ort, Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation (ADHT) spokesperson. "It's been a very challenging winter for us."

As soon as the weather hit, the problems piled up for ADHT.

"The inception of any storm is the most difficult time for traffic," Ort explained. "That's when you have the most problems."

Ort says the beginning of any snow event, once it first starts, is always the most critical time and traffic buildup can create nightmares for road crews.

While equipment, trucks, the salt/sand mixtures and crews were ready, Little Rock Public Works faces the same problems.

Operations Manager Eric Petty says an event like the latest winter weather can sneak up on everyone.

"It really caught a bunch of people unaware," he remarked. "It can overwhelm you for a while and sometimes it takes us time to catch up."

When accidents start happening, that can push operations back hours, which is why they stress staying off the roads.

"If the traffic's all backed up, not even our trucks can go through it," Petty added. "It does make it a lot harder for us if there's a lot of traffic on the road. It can back up, delay us and of course the longer it takes us to get there, the worse the traffic's gonna be because storms just keep getting worse as the snow falls."

Little Rock Public Works says it can sometimes take more than 24 hours to cover its eight pre-planned routes across the city.

When there are traffic problems it can take them longer to get to those snow covered streets.
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