This month, the state of Arizona entered its annual monsoon season; and the season won’t end until September. Driving conditions can turn dangerous because of high heat, increased chances of thunderstorms, high winds, lightning, flash floods, and dust storms. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) advises motorists to become aware of the dangers and being prepared as a way to avoid a potential accident. From 2010 to 2015, ADOT estimates that there were 85 dust-related crashes along the freeways connecting Phoenix to Tucson.
According to AP News, soon, Arizona drivers may soon have another way to become aware of these dangerous conditions along our roadways further in advance. ADOT has been granted a $54 million in a federal grant. The agency plans to use the money to both widen sections of Interstate 10 and to set up a long-range radar system that can detect dust storms as far as 50 miles away and short-range radar which can detect dust along with areas with the highest concentration of dust-related accidents.
ADOT also plans to use some of the federal grant monies to install electronic billboards to alert motorists of dangers and give them notice of recommended speed limits during times of low-visibility.
According to Tom Herrmann, spokesperson for ADOT, the system will be the first of its kind in the state of Arizona and that the agency plans to have a 4-mile section of I-10 widened by the end of the summer.
The radar system will begin being installed near Picacho Peak in the early fall.