Road closings causing more pain at the pump with detours

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

BALD KNOB, AR (KAIT) - It may take you a little longer getting to your mom's home this mother's day weekend.  Interstate 40, a highway that connects Memphis and Little Rock is closed between Hazen and Brinkley.  The detour is causing a 120 mile detour for folks who need to make the trip.

Because of that detour Highway 64 through Bald Knob is filled with 18-wheelers and traffic is lined up for miles.  For some it is very frustrating while for others the trip is an expensive adventure.

"It is very noisy.  It is just wall to wall traffic," said business owner Bob Miller.

Drivers of big trucks, small trucks, and cars are jockeying for position to get through detours that take them off I-40.  Part of the interstate is covered in water flowing from the White River.

"It really hasn't been too bad.  It's not really as bad of a delay as we were expecting," said Eric Adams.

Adams is one of four traveling to Texas from Memphis.

"They told us it would be a three hour delay and so far it has been maybe an hour and a half," said Adams.

While their trip isn't so bad, other drivers say it is taking them hundreds of miles out of the way with as much as a four hour delay.

"I've never seen it like this before.  We've seen a lot of traffic before but this is mostly semi-trailer trucks coming off of I-40.

Bob Miller owns Bulldog Restaurant in Bald Knob.  His business is right along the path the vehicles are taking.

"The outside lane is completely filled with traffic," said Miller.

Instead of helping, this traffic is hurting.

"We probably did about 35% less Thursday than I was expecting," said Miller.

Miller said the big trucks are blocking his driveway and his regular customers can't get into his restaurant.

"Bottom line I don't make as much and I'm going to have to cut my schedule back on my employees and I'm going to have to take some off the clock and send some home early," said Miller.

The detour is also digging a deeper hole in the pockets of travelers.  Adams said he has spent about $60 more than he planned.

As frustrated drivers continue on their journey Adams has some advice:

"Try to stay home if you can. Just try not to get out," said Adams.

According those with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department the future of I-40 is not known at this point.  It is unclear exactly when the White River will drop enough to re-open the road.

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