Sunshine a ‘blessing’ as ArDOT prepares for next winter storm

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 11:07 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - ArDOT crews have been working nonstop for the last week. With another winter storm on the way, they will have to work even harder.

However, even while looking ahead, on Tuesday they were able to catch their breath.

“Sunshine was really a blessing today, that really helped us a lot to prepare for this next wave,” said Alex Roofe, district maintenance engineer for District 5.

“Got to give the credit to the beautiful sunshine today,” added Brad Smithee, district engineer for District 10. “It’s been the real trick.”

Both men agreed the sun was their best crewmember, giving them some breathing room as they preparing for more inches of snow to fall.

It also gave them time to focus on repairing their trucks.

“Everything that these trucks are doing, going down the road, it’s hard on them,” said Smithee. “They’re rattling, they’re shaking, the bolts are coming loose.”

All of ArDOT’s trucks will undergo maintenance Tuesday night to prepare them for Wednesday’s winter wrath.

In addition to five trucks ending up in the ditch Monday night, several trucks dealt with frozen air lines and water in the pumps that raise and lower the plows.

“You have a group of personnel that typically works days and they were thrown off schedule and they are working 12-hour shifts at night and that takes a toll on people,” Roofe said.

He and Smithee are asking for the public’s patience, saying they are working a fast as they can.

They also say motorists need to be patient on the road.

“One of my big fears for tonight and one of the things I have to caution everybody about is because you’ve been driving 40 or 60 today on whatever road you’re on, know that when it gets dark tonight you need to be extra cautious,” said Smithee.

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