COVID-19 causes changes for ARDOT maintenance, construction projects

COVID-19 causes changes for ARDOT maintenance, construction projects

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - While fewer people are getting out and about due to COVID-19, road construction projects must continue.

Brad Smithee, District 10 engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation said maintenance work has been put on the back burner but contracted projects continue.

When it comes to maintenance projects, Smithee said some things require personnel to work in close proximity to each other.

“Maybe there’s a wooden piling under a bridge somewhere and it has to be repaired,” Smithee said. “Got to take a section out, put a section back in.”

Smithee said that it requires several people to go and do their work with shovels and chainsaws.

He said when it comes to big construction projects, like the BSNF railroad bridge project at Highland Drive and Nettleton Avenue in Jonesboro, or the major projects on Interstate 555, ARDOT is working with those companies during this time.

He said virus-related issues are affecting them and their ability to work, something the department is taking into account.

“We do have many out of state contracts,” Smithee said. “Our principal contractor, our clients, they are dealing with some issues in other states like Kansas and Missouri and other places they’re from. And so, you know, some of those states have stay-at-home orders. And so when their primary workforce is home in their state and I can’t believe that. That has an impact.”

Patience, Smithee said is the key, whether it is with maintenance projects or major construction projects.

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