Highway construction caused bottlenecks that snarled traffic over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, especially on Interstate 40, despite the fact that road crews opened as many closed construction lanes as they could. It was so bad that by Sunday evening, Arkansas State Police were advising motorists to get off I-40 in western Arkansas and take an alternate route.
A statewide $950 million, five-year interstate improvement project began this
year, which is the beginning of an overhaul of 375 miles of Arkansas' deteriorating highway system, according to the Associated Press.
Highway Department spokesman Keith Stephens told the AP that the agency is doing everything it can to smooth the way for holiday travelers on busy Interstates such as I-30 and I-40, by opening as many lanes as possible and warning motorists of construction delays in advance.
Michael Right, a spokesman for AAA Arkansas, said the motorists' organization plans to warn drivers via the Internet that a trip through Arkansas on I-40 might bring delays. He blamed heavy truck traffic for part of the problem, telling the AP that big rigs sometimes have trouble merging in and out of construction zones and
can further slow down traffic.