ADOT Starts Construction On I-10 Dust Storm Radar

Published: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 6:20pm
Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 12:44pm

(Photo via ADOT's Twitter)
Dust rises along I-10 near Picacho and milepost 217 on Dec. 24, 2016.

The stretch of the I-10 freeway south of Eloy is infamous for its dust storms and the resulting car crashes.  

Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Herman says of 85 dust-related crashes on the I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix, 43 happened around mile 213.

A $58 million project will widen four miles of the road to three lanes in both directions and install dust storm-detecting radar.

“Right where you and I would be going down the freeway, we’ll know exactly what visibility is like,” Herrmann said.

The information will allow the agency to send out immediate messages to drivers via electronic billboards.

Herrmann said the speed limit could also change from the usual 75 mph down to 35 mph, depending on the visibility.

“We don’t recommend that people drive in a dust storm, but we all know people that will do it," Herrmann said.

The radar will also sense dust storms several miles in the distance. The monitored area stretches between milepost 209 and 219. The short-range radar detectors will be placed every mile except for the middle of the zone where they will be every half mile. ADOT staff will also be able to view the freeway through closed-circuit cameras.

RELATED: 'Gorilla Snot' Used On Arizona Farmer's Fields After Dust Shut Down I-10

A $54 million federal grant pays for the majority of the project. 

Construction crews will start clearing the land for the road widening between milepost 209 and 213 this week.

The project is expected to be done in fall 2019.

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