Drivers should be prepared for Arkansas interstate construction projects to slow holiday travel

East Arkansas — Many of you have plans for the Memorial Day weekend, and those plans probably involve driving.

If you’re heading through Arkansas, you need to be prepared for traffic delays around interstate construction zones on I-40 and I-55.

Work crews typically take the long weekend off, but lane closures and reduced speed limits will still be in effect.

There might be more orange on Arkansas’ interstates than at a Tennessee Vols football game.

With nine major interstate improvement projects underway, travelers are bound to hit a traffic jam or two over the Memorial Day weekend.

The new Arkansas Welcome Center in West Memphis sits next to one-lane widening project that’s already underway on I-40.

Calanda Young, manager at the Welcome Center, said because of all the construction, travelers have only one concern.

“They’re not worried about the gas prices. Their main concern is the construction. You know, will they be able to get through without any problems,” said Young.

The latest tool to help motorists negotiate Arkansas’ interstate work zones is called I Drive Arkansas.com.

The app features a map display that uses a color code to let users know how traffic is flowing.

“You have green for normal speed. Slow is yellow. Very slow is red. And black and red is stopped,” said Jere Welch, Arkansas Travel Consultant.

The website is especially handy for people going east and west on I-40 in St. Francis County.

That’s where an eight mile stretch of construction started causing traffic jams more than a year ago.

Floyd Phillips, from Vermilion, Ohio, has been through the traffic nightmare before.

“We’ve come through here, I believe it was last year and the same construction was going and we sat through it and it was a long time,” said Phillips.

Phillips, along with his family and friends, are headed to Texas and the new I Drive app will show them an alternate route around the St. Francis County traffic jam.

Friday morning, Tom Mickelsen, who is from Central California, said he plans on using the I Drive app while he and his wife make their way up Interstate 55 to Missouri.

Mickelson said app or not, he always sticks with a basic travel plan for avoiding traffic snarls.

“Leaving this time of day and not during rush hours,” said Mickelsen.