TEXARKANA — Snow has finally moved east of Texarkana but roads are still bad in many locations.
"Icy road hazards still remain and will probably be around a few more days," said TxDOT Atlanta District Spokesman Marcus Sandifer on Thursday.
He advises people to stay home if possible as crews continue to clear roads of snow and ice.
As warmer weather starts the thawing process, it will take a few days for all the snow and ice on the roadways to melt and dry up. With the thaw, new hazards arise. Melting ice becomes even more slick and, with temperatures dropping back into the teens at night, any ice or water remaining on the pavement can refreeze, becoming black ice that is hard to see.
Though it is slow going, progress is being made on roads, especially most major highways, according to officials.
"Just this morning we've made real progress on the Interstate and the Loop and we are about to start switching equipment to secondary routes," said William Cheatham with the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel," Cheatham said. "But yesterday was brutal. Some people are reporting 19 inches of snow and that's just crazy."
Cheatham was driving U.S. Highway 71 north of Texarkana Thursday and said "It's in pretty good shape."
ArDOT is also coordinating with the city of Texarkana, Texas to work on State Line Avenue, Cheatham said.
"We are working on that jointly right now," he said.
Pre-treating the roads with salt brine has been beneficial, Cheatham said.
"When we get the top layer off, the bottom is slushy and that's what we want," he said.
Cheatham said temperatures rising to the 40s should help the roads a lot but much of the progress is based on how the roads are pre-treated.
"It's more about what is on them. The goal is to pretreat and since we were expecting snow, we put the salt brine on the roads and that makes a huge difference," he said.
Roads given first priority are based on traffic count.
"We have a list of primary roads we do first and those include I-30 and the major highways. Roads with lesser traffic volume are unfortunately last," Cheatham said.
The ArDOT district has 250 employees and they are working around the clock to get roads in better condition, Cheatham said.
All TxDOT resources are also deployed with crews working around the clock focusing on clearing higher volume corridors, such as I-20, I-30, U.S. Highway 59 and then the roads with lower traffic volumes, Sandifer said.
Although roads are not technically closed, all roads have been impacted.
The I-30 flyover on the Texas-side was closed late Wednesday and reopened Thursday afternoon.
No accidents with serious injuries had been reported in the city but the Texarkana Texas Police Department helped push between 40 to 50 vehicles out of ditches on Wednesday, said Spokesman Shawn Vaughn.
He said most two-wheel drive vehicles are having some problems on inclines. Bridges were all graded but some remain slick.
Drivers are strongly encouraged to stay at home if at all possible.
"Crews have been out sanding and plowing but there is just so much snow and ice to deal with. Roads are still very treacherous, We are still asking people to stay home unless they absolutely have to get out," Vaughn said.
If citizens must get on the roadway, use extreme caution and always assume there is ice on the pavement, especially on bridges and overpasses.
(Visit DriveTexas.org or idrivearkansas.com online for updated road conditions. If stranded on the road, stay in your vehicle and call 911.)