Beebe questions ASHTD speed in clearing highway ice - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Beebe questions ASHTD speed in clearing highway ice

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (FOX13) -

Gov. Mike Beebe said Wednesday he's questioning why the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department didn't react quicker in pre-treating I-40 and I-55 and other state roads before and after a quick moving ice storm caused havoc for motorists since late Sunday.

""It's awful; the mess they've got in over there," he said. "We've been trying to figure out why the highway department wasn't there quicker with treating those roads.

"They tell us that what happened to them, and I have to rely on what they say, that they did pre-treat them, but all of the rain washed it off and then was suddenly hit with the ice," the Democratic governor added. "That's a good question. I've asked that question and that's the response I've gotten."

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Since late Sunday it's been a traffic nightmare on I-40 and I-55 in eastern Arkansas. Drivers have been stuck on I-55 from West Memphis to the Missouri state line and on I-40 from West Memphis to Forrest City. It got so bad that the Arkansas Army National Guard was called in to assist state police.

"Now what we have done is we've got the National Guard, we've got Game and Fish, and we've got state police," Gov. Beebe said. "We have all sorts of other agencies besides the highway department that normally wouldn't be doing that, except the state police working wrecks, out there helping them because apparently they need all of the help they can get. So, we've marshaled forces from everywhere. I've got questions for the highway department, and we're asking them."

Sleet- and ice-covered roads and bridges turned stop and go traffic into a complete stop Monday, Tuesday and early Wednesday as temperatures dipped below freezing or hovered around the freezing mark. At points Tuesday, traffic on the both interstates didn't move for hours, and as soon as you thought traffic started moving again, the brake lights came on.

"I don't understand why a Missouri highway is clear and an Arkansas highway is not. No, if it joins right there together that's pretty unacceptable to me."

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