The Arkansas Highway Transportation Department is getting, or will get, a shellacking for snarls on roadways in the recent ice storms. The governor wants answers and a joint legislative committee also has been asked to investigate.

Gov. Mike Beebe today said the department didn’t act quickly enough.


“It’s awful; the mess they’ve got in over there,” he said. “We’ve been trying to figure out why the highway department wasn’t there quicker with treating those roads.

“They tell us that what happened to them, and I have to rely on what they say, that they did pre-treat them, but all of the rain washed it off and then was suddenly hit with the ice,” the Democratic governor added. “That’s a good question. I’ve asked that question and that’s the response I’ve gotten.”

The legislature wants in on the act, too. Sens. Keith Ingram of West Memphis and Johnny Key of Mountain Home have asked the House and Senate transportation committees to convene a meeting on the department response. The letter cited “particular and extreme challenges” on the interstates and highways along the northern border of the state.

Ice caused massive blockades on Interstate 40 and 55 in eastern and northeastern Arkansas. Beebe said Missouri highways were clear but roads in nearby Arkansas were not. He called out the National Guard to bring aid to stranded motorists.