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Arkansas transportation crews work to repair potholes after winter storm



April showers might bring May flowers, but with winter storms come one of the most frustrating road hazards drivers encounter — potholes.

Dave Parker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation said they’re getting pothole reports on highways and interstates from across Arkansas.

“We deal with the potholes, and we don’t like the potholes either,” Parker said. “We knew, you know, following that storm, [we were] probably going to see a little bit of an uptick.”

Parker said that based on the amount of materials used, the department’s 10 districts are reporting about the same number of potholes as last year—but they did see a spike after the storm. Potholes are caused by moisture or water on the roads for a prolonged period of time, something Arkansas experienced in mid-February.

“When you combine with that the really cold temperatures, that just kind of enhances it quite a bit, makes it even worse,” Parker said. “It’s even more perfect conditions for potholes.”

Parker said not only do potholes slow down traffic, but they can also cause damage to vehicles.

“The number one thing is safety, just to make sure, you know, we can make the road as safe and easy for you to travel,” Parker said. “That’s the main concern, the reason why we need to take care of these.”

The department is asking Arkansans to report potholes on its website, Parker said it’s best for drivers to give a detailed description of where the pothole is located and let them know mile markers or nearby landscape if possible.

“We can’t be out there and cover the 16,000 miles that we cover in the state of Arkansas without your help,” he said.

Once a pothole is reported in the IDrive system, Parker said a ticket is generated and the reporter will be notified that the department has received the information and is working on it. From there, it goes to the district engineer for the area the pothole is located in and they get it fixed as quickly as possible.

“We certainly don’t want to create any kind of, or have a safety situation out there where people are, you know, swerving or trying to avoid the pothole, and an accident occurs,” Parker said.

Parker said some repairs take longer than others.

“We’re going to try to get in there and patch when a patch will work,” he said. “Because that’s quicker, less inconvenience to the driver and allows traffic to get through. If we really get in a bad position, you know, on the interstates, we’ll have to cut them out and use concrete. And that’s a longer solution, but it takes more time to get it done.”

That’s the case in Creighton County in the West Memphis area of Interstates 40 and 55. Parker said the repair will take a while and cause backup on the interstate, but the fix will be more permanent than a patch.

“It’s got traffic right now,” he said. “Backed up quite a bit. So, you know, we’re going to be seeing this for a while. We kind of anticipated it.”