Dear Mahatma: A while back there was something sprayed along Interstate 430 that looked like Agent Orange was applied. What was that all about? -- Distressed
Dear Distressed: We are told by ArDot, the Arkansas Department of Transportation, that a weedkiller not meant for trees was inadvertently sprayed by a boom sprayer turned upward rather than downward. The mistake was on the northbound side but was caught before most of the southbound was sprayed.
The trees are expected to be fine.
Dear Mahatma: What do you know about the cutting down of many trees along U.S. 67/167 around Beebe? Some are hauled off, others ground up. -- Curious Kelly
Dear Curious: This ongoing project has piqued the interest of several readers. Some are for; others against. Naturally.
We went back to the well -- ArDot -- for an explanation, and got one in detail. The answer also applies to a similar clearing on Interstate 30 in southwest Arkansas. We have personally seen a whole lot of that, and envied the mulch. We have a Fabulous Gardener in the house, and she loves a big pile of mulch.
Regarding U.S. 67/167, we hear from Stan Glover, construction engineer in District 5.
Clearing is from the White County line, south of Beebe, to Arkansas 17 in Newport as part of a project rehabilitating 27 miles of the four-lane highway.
Turns out a four-lane design must have a 40-foot clear zone should traffic leave the road via an accident. Over time, trees have encroached on that 40 feet. The growth of trees beyond the 40 feet also blocks drainage along the roadway, causing water to stand and back up over adjacent private property. In some cases, trees grow between the joints of drainage culverts.
All this clearing allows ArDot to maintain its right of way and keep good maintenance of the highway.
Most of the fallen timber in question is mulched. Trees too large for mulching are hauled away.
Dear Mahatma: Driving around Pulaski County I see on street signs that the image of Count Pulaski has been replaced with a common "P" and what looks like a "C" surrounding the P. Why? Does the county have some unspent funds or is this a reaction to the current trend to remove historical monuments and images? -- The Hills
Dear Hills: The change in logo occurred in 2016. The signs were changed using stickers that were printed in-house and which covered the street signs.
Count Pulaski was a famed fighter for freedom in Europe and in the Revolutionary War, and is known as the father of the American cavalry. He was wounded at the Battle of Savannah in 1779, hit by grapeshot in a charge, and perished.
Busts of the count were scattered about the county back in the day. One is outside a county building in downtown Little Rock. The others? Our mind is weak, so folks who know should remind us.