Arkansas highway officials say they want to divert additional funds to its maintenance operations so they can respond more quickly to severe winter weather.
Scott Bennett, the head of the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation, says the agency needs to respond to problems that popped up after a March ice storm. Motorists in eastern and northeastern Arkansas were stranded for hours after crews were unable to clear the highways.
At a meeting Wednesday, the state Highway Commission approved a budget request that would let maintenance crews hire 200 more people at a cost of $5.8 million. The agency also plans to add more equipment and devote more money to buy material to treat the roadways.
Under the plan, less money would be available for construction.