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Snow and Ice Removal in Little Rock

I get lots of questions about snow and ice removal in Little Rock, so I contacted someone from Fleet Services and asked them what the city does in winter weather.

Southern states, like Arkansas, aren’t as prepared for snow and ice as places like Wisconsin and Minnesota.  We don’t have the same number of plows (or even real plows), the budget or the training needed to clear roads as quickly and efficiently as they do.  Snow is just a part of life in those states.  They know they will get snow and get it often throughout the winter.  However, in Arkansas, even though it seems like winter weather is becoming increasingly common, it’s not really common to get it here.

Snow Plows/Trucks

In 2014, Little Rock added double-bladed belly plows to its snow and ice fleet.  One is dedicated to central Arkansas. These are heavy trucks with a plow blade under the truck.  The weight of the truck on the blade makes it pretty effective in ice removal.

Little Rock has four “plows.”  However, our plows are dump trucks retrofit with plow blades.  Most northern cities have actual plows.  These retrofit blades are somewhat inefficient for plowing through sheets of ice, which are common in Arkansas winter weather.  These trucks also require a certain amount of skill and knowledge to use efficiently.   Just because you see a truck traveling with “plow up” (which is a criticism I often hear) doesn’t mean it’s not doing its job. It could be trying to get to the route, out of salt or any number of other reasons.

The city deploys six other trucks with salt and sand for ice and snow, for a total of ten trucks that attempt to clear the roadways.  The trucks have drop spreaders that help to distribute the salt and ice.

Plow Routes

In general, our plows and salt trucks only visit major thoroughfares in Little Rock.  These include:

  • Baseline,Geyer Springs and 65th Street.
  • Downtown Little Rock, including Capital and Fair Park.
  • Hillcrest and the Heights, including Cantrell and Cammack Village
  • Shackelford, Hinson and Pleasant Valley
  • Chenal,Rahling and Taylor Loop

There’s a Google map of plow routes:  Little Rock Plow Routes.  Not all of these routes will be visited every day or even with every winter event, and they will not always be clear.  They are plowed based on need.  The Arkansas Highway Department maintains a website that lists road conditions of all of the roads in Arkansas.  That should always be checked before driving in winter weather.

*Note that “plow,” in the case, refers to the salt trucks without the retrofit plow too.

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