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County crews continue to prepare for heavy rains as storms continue

Heavy rain forced several road closures in Benton County Wednesday, but as more rain moves in overnight, county road departments are preparing.

BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark — As of Wednesday night, at around 9:30 p.m. over a dozen roads in Benton County are closed with most of the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas under a flash flood watch or advisory counties on standby.

“If you do see it and you’re aware, don’t chance it,” Travis Cooper, deputy director of Sebastian County Emergency Management. “Please turn around, don’t drown.”

A message many county officials are echoing, urging you to stay clear of flooded roads and not drive around barricades or road barriers.

“We just ask you to adhere to those because they’re there for your safety,” said Benton County Director of Communications Melody Kwok.

Kwok says they close roads when water reaches a certain level. 

Roads could also be closed. Even if you don’t see water on the ground.

“Your road might not be flooded, but there might be a lot of debris on the road,” Kwok said.

An example, a road in rural Benton County was washed out a week ago and Wednesday it washed out again.

Benton County is using American Rescue funds to combat problems like this.

“Rebuild banks and do some hazard mitigation and make it so that our area it’s safer for drivers,” said Kwok.

Sebastian County is using money from the state to improve bridges. The county is currently monitoring the weather for areas prone to flood such as Highways 96 and 252 near Central City and Lavaca. In Fort Smith, the area of Old Greenwood Road and Phoenix are areas they are watching.

“We do have all of our signage ready in case there is any roads that need to be closed”, said Dustin Willet, Crawford County Road Foreman.

Crawford County crews are responsible for over 150 roads. Crews will be out all day Thursday to monitor conditions.

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