Act of Congress exempted stretch of I-555 where crash happened

Act of Congress exempted stretch of I-555 where crash happened

POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - In a crash that left a huge mess on I-555, ArDOT officials told Region 8 News a piece of farming equipment detached from the tractor in the middle of the interstate, and the semi-truck driver could not slow down in time to avoid the crash.

Usually, farming equipment isn’t allowed to travel on interstates, but the tractor had every right to the roadway.

It’s a four-mile stretch of interstate unlike any other in the state, because an act of Congress exempts this section of road from that farm traffic restriction.

Years back, when the road was designated as Interstate 555, concerns were raised that farmers would have to travel 90 to 120 miles out of the way to make it across the St. Francis River floodway.

Instead of inconveniencing farmers or building a $32 million access road solely for that farming equipment, officials came up with the unique compromise.

"It's certainly not the most common solution to a problem," District 10 Engineer Brad Smithee said. "But when you're looking at issues like funding deficits, all the needs, and the fact that they exceed so many of your abilities, it certainly is a reasonable solution, considering the low volumes and the short nature of it."

Caution signs were also installed as a safety measure.

And though this crash was unusual in the fact that the tractor had issues and had to stop in the road, if safety becomes an issue in the area, Smithee said officials can go back, re-evaluate, and make changes, if needed.

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