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Updated: Ark. highway director says more resources needed

Posted: March 11, 2014 - 8:13am
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In this March 3, 2014, Ariel photo traffic goes between a stand still and slow crawl on west-bound Interstate 40 just past the Hernando DeSoto Bridge in West Memphis, Ark. Some motorists on the highway in eastern Arkansas were stranded overnight due to lingering icy conditions from a weekend winter storm. An Arkansas highway department spokesman said Tuesday that traffic can't get moving consistently because of repeated accidents. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mike Brown)
In this March 3, 2014, Ariel photo traffic goes between a stand still and slow crawl on west-bound Interstate 40 just past the Hernando DeSoto Bridge in West Memphis, Ark. Some motorists on the highway in eastern Arkansas were stranded overnight due to lingering icy conditions from a weekend winter storm. An Arkansas highway department spokesman said Tuesday that traffic can't get moving consistently because of repeated accidents. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mike Brown)

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett says more equipment and employees are needed for highway officials to improve their response to winter weather conditions.

Bennett told a joint legislative committee Tuesday that the department needs more money to buy additional snow plows and hire more people for snow and ice removal.

The meeting was called after motorists were stranded for hours on icy Interstates 55 and 40 in eastern Arkansas when a winter storm dumped heavy sleet on the state last week.

Bennett says the AHTD has spent about $18 million this fiscal year in clearing icy roadways after spending about $5 million last year. He told lawmakers that Missouri has more snow plows and more employees to cover a smaller area than does Arkansas.

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