- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Hot Springs’ tourism agency is telling its workers to avoid U.S. 70 east of the city because of an increasing number of fatal traffic collisions.

A dozen people were killed in a 19-mile stretch of U.S. 70 last year, and another person was killed in a wreck Saturday.

“Beginning immediately, Visit Hot Springs personnel on company business or errands to the Benton/Little Rock area (or beyond) should not take Highway 70. Please route your travel over Highway 270,” a memo from the agency management says. “We believe Highway 270 to be the safer route due to the large number of accidents occurring on Highway 70, therefore our policy is that business travel on Highway 70 is no longer allowed.”

Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, told The Sentinel Record newspaper (https://bit.ly/1U2elsO ) that Wednesday’s memo wasn’t intended to tell would-be visitors that U.S. 70 is unsafe, but that the agency wanted “to err on the side of caution.”

State police stepped up patrols along U.S. 70 after last year’s spike in fatalities. Saturday’s fatal collision was the first on that stretch of U.S. 70 since December.

Arrison said the memo was sent to all Visit Hot Springs employees and sales people because “we don’t want anything to happen to our employees. It’s strictly out of concern for their safety on the road.”

He said the travel time between Little Rock and Hot Springs is about the same on either two-lane U.S. 70 or the four-lane roads via Malvern.

Arrison said once Highway 70 is widened to four lanes as planned, the policy would likely be revised.

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Information from: The Sentinel-Record, https://www.hotsr.com


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