City, county and state crews ready for icy roads

Crews from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, Baxter County Road and Bridge, Marion County Road Department and the Mountain Home Street Department say they are standing by and ready in the event of any significant ice accumulation Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service in North Little Rock says a wintry mix of rain, freezing sleet and snow will move northward through the state this afternoon and into southern Missouri through the evening hours.

Local District Nine Engineer Steve Lawrence, from the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT), says preparations were underway Tuesday morning to treat local highways.

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ArDOT uses salt brine to pre-treat roads, a strong mixture of salt and water. A light coating of straight salt is applied after ice build-up.

Area highways, as well as city and county roads, are prioritized based upon the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT). Roads with the highest traffic volume are treated and cleared first.

Mike Watts, who became the Superintendent of Baxter County Road and Bridge January 1st, says crews will be on hand around the clock.

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Baxter County has 10 plow trucks and three newly added larger trucks with salt mix spreader beds enabling crews to stay on the road longer than in the past.

The Road and Bridge Department works in 12-hour shifts during inclement weather, alternating until the work is completed.

Marion County Road Foreman Ted Fox says his crews are on standby as well. The crews, utilizing a combination of six snow plows and spreader beds, are monitoring the weather to make sure potential rain won't wash away pre-treated areas.

Mountain Home Street Department Director Arnold Knox says roads are treated slightly differently based upon the type of weather expected.

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The Street Department has three smaller one-ton trucks and three large trucks with spreader beds.

Emergency service areas such as Baxter Regional Medical Center, the Baxter County Sheriff's Office, the Mountain Home Police Department and the post office have the highest priority and are treated and plowed first. Other areas of high priority are arterial streets such as College Street, Coley Drive, Arkansas Avenue and First Street.

Departments may generally be reached during inclement weather if there is an emergency such as serious road conditions or if a road has been missed for treatment. All other emergencies should be directed to 911.

The number for Baxter County Road and Bridge is 870-425-3695. The Marion County Road Department is 870-449-6021 and the Mountain Home Street Department's number is 870-425-4708.

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