Traffic nightmare on Ark. interstates slows drivers to a crawl

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Chopper 5 flew overhead the backup on I-40 in Ark. Chopper 5 flew overhead the backup on I-40 in Ark.

(WMC-TV) - Drivers were still stranded on the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 and on both sides of Interstate 40 in Arkansas Tuesday afternoon. Traffic turned into a slow crawl later in the evening.

Many drivers were forced to sleep in their cars since the backup on I-55 began Monday evening. So far, no end is in sight.

Chopper 5 flew over the backup Tuesday morning. Traffic was slow and go for miles from West Memphis to Brinkley, Ark. on I-40. On I-55, the slowdown is now intermittent from Osceola all the way to the Missouri state line.

"People have been stopped over 14 hours without moving an inch on this treacherous highway," Sandy Shute wrote in an email to Action News 5. "People have run out of gas, my husband is trapped, very cold and he has no heat."

Part of I-55 southbound was shut down early Tuesday morning due to multiple accidents involving tractor-trailers.

The governor or Ark. activated the Army National Guard to help.

When Action News 5's Nick Kenney caught up with Larry Matney, his car had not moved since 9 p.m. Monday. He was traveling with his two small children when he found himself in the traffic snarl.

"I stopped to get some food for my family at the McDonald's and my car broke down on me," he explained. "And we hadn't been able to get out to get any parts if anything, for the vehicles before the traffic is jammed up."

Brandon Oliver was traveling back to Central Illinois from New Orleans. A weekend of excess followed by a Fat Tuesday flop.

Some drivers turned around, but others had no choice but to wait it out.

I'm ready to go home," said Matney.

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