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Tuesday, September 02, 2014, 8:31 p.m.
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Beebe critical of highway response to winter storm

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published March 5, 2014 at 9:46 a.m.

missouri-route-39-is-clear-monday-march-3-2014-while-arkansas-221-remains-icy-north-of-berryville

Missouri Route 39 is clear Monday, March 3, 2014, while Arkansas 221 remains icy north of Berryville.

Gov. Mike Beebe was critical of the state's response to icy road conditions caused by a winter storm Sunday night, calling it "unacceptable" that northern Arkansas roads would be snow-covered while Missouri roads adjoining them were not.

Beebe spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon outside his office in Little Rock on a day Arkansas State Police and Arkansas National Guardsmen worked to provide aid to thousands of motorists stranded on Interstates 55 and 40 in eastern Arkansas.

Beebe noted that state workers from other agencies, including the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, were also dispatched to help "because apparently [highway department workers] need all the help they can get."

He said he had questions for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, an independent state agency not under Beebe's control.

"It's awful the mess they've got in over there," he said. "We've been trying to figure out why the highway department wasn't there quicker with treating those roads. They tell us what happened to them — and I have to rely on what they say — is they did pretreat them but all the rain washed it off. … That's a good question. I've asked that question, and that's the response I've gotten."

A message left with a spokesman for the highway department wasn't immediately returned Wednesday morning. The ArkansasOnline live traffic map showed at midmorning that traffic was still stalled in places along both interstates.

After a winter storm in December, during which photos surfaced showing clear roads in Missouri turning into snow-covered ones in Arkansas, the director of the highway department called the clearing effort "unacceptable" and said new equipment and approaches were being implemented.

Similar reports of icy roads in Arkansas despite much clearer ones in nearby Missouri have been circulating after the most recent wave of winter weather.

"I don't like it," Beebe told reporters. "Do you like it? I don't like it at all. I don't understand why a Missouri highway is clear and an Arkansas highway is not. If it joins right there together, that's pretty unacceptable to me."

Comments on: Beebe critical of highway response to winter storm

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JIMBOB47 says... March 5, 2014 at 10:52 a.m.

The answer to the question is in the statement, "He said he had questions for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, an independent state agency not under Beebe's control." This 'independent' agency is much like the Little Rock Wastewater bunch - they take our money and do what they want - they are not accountable to anyone except a wholly 'bought and paid for' commission.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 5, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.

Hey Beebe ... shut up or change it.

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HawgFan says... March 5, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.

JIMBO.... The 'bought and paid for' commission is appointed by the Governor.

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HenryP says... March 5, 2014 at 11:50 a.m.

Highways, Schoffner, Game & Fish, and so many other state scandals, how can people be in love with a failure like Bebe?

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TomN says... March 5, 2014 at 11:58 a.m.

Like the sign says... "Welcome to Arkansas!" This incident just adds new meaning to the sign's expression! The provincial, behind the times "Good Ole Boy" state!

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 5, 2014 at 12:03 p.m.

TomN, .. nice to see that you are still around.

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mhck52 says... March 5, 2014 at 12:26 p.m.

No more governors named Mike or that have a name the same as an Arkansas city.

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SRBROTHERINLAW says... March 5, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.

THE ARKANSAS HIGHWAY DEPT IS A JOKE AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

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TomN says... March 5, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.

Thank you 3DKA! Going nowhere, but have thought about it for reasons similar to this fiasco. Love Arkansas! Born here! Love the scenery, the diversity, etc. Have always been an Arkansas citizen even during/from my father's out of state navy days (20 yrs.) and my out of state undergrad and grad studies, navy, ministry (4 yrs. Kentucky and 4 yrs. Arkansas) - missionary (12 yrs. Japan) days. It's the set ways and thinking of "the establishment/s" that hold Arkansas back and down... Sometimes feel that I made a mistake by working so hard to "get back" to Arkansas and invest so heavily to do it, thus limiting my ability to liquidate and move elsewhere... Foolishly, at times I think I see a glimmer of possible improvement... Then sh*t like this happens and only reinforces the old and unfortunate stereotypical images of Arkansas... I am usually optimistic and not so harsh in my criticisms... I guess I am just growing so weary of it...

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TomN says... March 5, 2014 at 1:17 p.m.

BTW, the storm hit on Sunday and I saw the first AR Hwy Dept truck on my AR State Hwy this morning (Wed)... They have been on my sh*t list all winter... Showing up for the first time multiple days after winter events... Trust me, I pay a sizable share of taxes and I get nothing for it... Tho't everyone should be aware of my obvious bias... :)

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