I-40, 55 drivers in Ark. still enduring 'slow and go' traffic - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

I-40, 55 drivers in Ark. still enduring 'slow and go' traffic

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Arkansas road officials say they started treating interstates around noon Sunday. They say the sleet fell so quickly that road equipment could not keep up. Arkansas road officials say they started treating interstates around noon Sunday. They say the sleet fell so quickly that road equipment could not keep up.
Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesperson Danny Straessle said fast falling sleet, accidents, and construction zones combined for a perfect storm. Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesperson Danny Straessle said fast falling sleet, accidents, and construction zones combined for a perfect storm.
Some sleep, eat, and live at the Greyhound Station hoping bus routes will be clear soon. Some sleep, eat, and live at the Greyhound Station hoping bus routes will be clear soon.

(WMC-TV) - Traffic along Interstates 40 and 55 in Arkansas was still slow and go as of Wednesday evening.

Some drivers are using alternative methods to ease their mind from standstill stress, like a little gambling.

"Yeah, what else you gonna do? It's misery out there. This is my pleasure," said Memphis resident Jimmy Allens. "I was at the dog track Sunday when this happened, trying to tell my wife, 'Let's go, let's go.' And she was winning so she decided for a win over safety."

While Allens has tried to avoid the mess along the interstates, other drivers say it is not so easy.

"It's been beautiful till we got here ... All the roads were clear all the way to here," added Alice Brandon from Decatur, IL.

Many people are still stuck in Memphis. Some sleep, eat, and live at the Greyhound Station hoping bus routes will be clear soon.

"It's been very frustrating," said traveler Joshua Cooper. "Just because this only happens once every 10 to 15 years, be prepared for every 10 to 15 years."

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesperson Danny Straessle said fast falling sleet, accidents, and construction zones combined for a perfect storm.

Road officials say they started treating interstates around noon Sunday. They say the sleet fell so quickly that road equipment could not keep up.

Plus, the treatment they use for the interstates was ineffective once the temperatures dropped below 22 degrees.

"Those areas [east and northeast Arkansas] are not as geared up equipment wise for removal of winter weather precipitation," said Straessle.

Another problem, state officials say, is construction lane closures along I-55 and I-40.

According to Straessle, winter weather cleanup is not specifically in the state budget and instead is considered part of regular maintenance. He said lawmakers have to consider the high cost of new equipment that may be used sparingly.

Westbound I-40 in West Memphis was completely stopped for hours Wednesday. Highway officials say drivers should continue to expect delays along I-40 and I-55 until all the ice melts.

As far as the Greyhound travelers, the company released the following statement:

We have temporarily suspended ticket sales for travel north and west of Memphis due to inclement weather conditions until further notice. Because the safety of our customers and employees is the cornerstone of our business, Greyhound only operates when it is completely safe to do so. Greyhound monitors the national weather reports and works closely with the state and local law enforcement to determine when and where it is safe to travel.

We are re-ticketing customers who can be re-routed to their final destination without traveling through affected areas and will place all other delayed customers on the next available schedule to their final destinations as soon as it is safe to resume travel.

Since Monday, our customer service team has provided delayed customers with three meals a day, contacted the local Red Cross and is providing a running and heated bus for customers who wish to rest in the reclining seats that have personal power outlets to keep their devices charged and connected to the free onboard WiFi. We are doing our best to accommodate our customers with the resources we have available under these circumstances.

To track Mid-South traffic visit Action News 5's traffic map, herehttp://www.wmctv.com/category/70840/traffic.

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