Arkansas Department of Transportation crews preparing for winter season

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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SHARP COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Officials with the Arkansas Department of Transportation said work has already begun preparing for winter weather.

They said it’s a year-round job to keep equipment and supplies ready for the winter months.

Keeping those things in check requires a handful of employees, which everyone has been struggling with over the past two to three years.

“We’re probably the best staff-wise in the state as far as a district. No, we’re not fully staffed, but we are probably 85% staffed,” said District 5 Engineer Bruce Street.

He said his crews must keep a close eye on road salt supply because, in some cases, a winter storm might knock a large portion of that supply out.

“As soon as a storm is underway, we might use half our supply in one storm. Immediately in the past, we’ve ordered salt before the storm is done.”

Most of Region 8 is in ArDOT Districts 5 and 10.

Both of the district’s engineers say, other than a few bumps in the road, they are ready to tackle the slick conditions.

“We can never just wait until that first snowfall or icing event may happen. We are always looking a little bit ahead and hopefully a lot ahead,” District 10 Engineer Brad Smithee.

He explained there would be a day in the next few weeks when his crews aren’t out mowing or filling potholes in the roadway.

Rather, crews will be in the shops, preparing for the weather to come.

“We load all of our spreaders. We load all of our plows onto our dump trucks. Everything we use during the winter weather is rigged up and ready to go, and we check all of that equipment out. A lot of this stuff gets cleaned up in the spring and put away, and it’s not really utilized for the rest of the summer, so you’ve got to work the bugs back out of it.”

Both engineers asked for patience with ArDOT when snow begins to fall on the roads across the region.