State and local road crews prepare for winter weather - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

State and local road crews prepare for winter weather

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -

State and local road crews are taking extra precautions after Arkansas got its first taste of winter weather on Thursday.

Eugene Neff with the Craighead County Highway Department said the department is stocking up on sand. It's something that will be used to battle the first round of ice in Region 8. 

"Today [Thursday] we're going to get about 100 tons in. I know last year I think we fared up with we used about 420 tons," Neff said.

That sand will be used to deal with the first potential round of ice. Neff said more sand will be bought if there are additional winter storms. 

"We got two sand spreaders, they're just sitting out back just waiting to be loaded, and everybody else will just throw some in the back of the truck and we'll just send them out with shovels," Neff said.

Even though sand is not as effective as salt, Neff said it gets the job done. 

"It gives you traction at intersections and stop signs on hills, where you can get up and down them." Neff said.

But larger roads in Region 8 won't be treated with sand. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will use salt. The AHTD bought 12,000 tons of salt to prepare for the upcoming winter. Spokesperson Danny Strassle said the AHTD bought the salt in one large batch to avoid running into a shortage later in the season. 

"It's the largest single purchase of salt that we've made," Strassle said.

The salt used on roads this winter will be different than in the past. It'll be mixed with beet juice.  "Previously we had a mixture of sand, salt, calcium chloride. A three part mixture and got varying results out of it," Strassle said.

According to Strassle, the beet juice will allow the salt to stick to the ice and melt the ice faster. 

While both state and local road departments say they are prepared for winter this year, they're hoping for am milder season. 

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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