Friday, January 01, 2010

Slip Slidin' Away (Part Deux)

Well, it's happened again: yet another Arkansas roadway has done the "slip n slide". This time, it's AR 23 north of Ozark.

Dubbed the "Pig Trail" for it's twisty, narrow curves and steep grades, 23 winds through the Ozark National Forest and has long served as a shortcut to Fayetteville (and the University of Arkansas) for college students driving in from Little Rock and other ares of the state. In recent years, AR 23 has seen less traffic with the opening of I-540 some 20 miles west. Still, it's a popular scenic drive in the Spring, Summer and Fall. In the Winter, no so much... especially when the snow and the ice come rolling through.

Due to an overabundance of rain the past two Springs, parts of the roadway had started to erode and slide down the hillside. While the contractor was scheduled to simply repair the washed out area leaving one lane open to traffic, further damage has been found requiring the whole roadway be closed while the contractor repairs that damage as well (for an additional cost, as well)

Now, I can't help but wonder why AHTD didn't forsee this. They did the same thing on US 71 a few months ago: fix the worst of it, ignore the rest, then find out the whole area is bad. I can't help but wonder if AHTD is trying to do thing "on the cheap" rather than fix things right.  It would seem to be a no-brainer that if half the roadway has washed out, the remaining section might do the same thing, no? Why not a little ARRA money to fix this right rather than spending it in roads that don't need attention? *sigh*

Still, the contractor is working 7 days a week right now to get the roadway at least partially opened to traffic while they continue to repair the original damage.


As you can see, I was able to drive up and take a look yesterday. The rock embankment is being hauled in from a site about a mile south. Part of a hillside is being dug out and the rock used to shore up the damaged roadway here. I was passed by 3 dump trucks while I was taking these photos. The gentleman operating the dozer told me the muddy ground was making this a really tough job.

No photos, unfortunately, but coming home via AR 103 towards Clarksville, I saw several spots that could be prime candidates for the next washout. I guess we'll find out in the Spring. 

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