On a stretch of Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix, the Arizona Department of Transportation is working on a system to alert drivers of dust storms that create dangerous driving conditions.
The system will incorporate sensors that detect wind and dust as far as a mile away, alerting drivers via electronic message boards. Programmable signs along the highway will indicate reduced speeds while closed-circuit cameras will allow ADOT staff to see the conditions in real time.
Installation of the state-of-the-art dust-detection system is slated to begin within one year between mileposts 209 and 219.
“In addition to providing earlier warnings about blowing dust in an especially troublesome area, this innovative system will advance our understanding of whether similar systems can be effective in other locations around Arizona,” Brent Cain, director of ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations Division, said.
Once the system is installed and tested, similar warning systems could be used in other dust-prone areas.
The system is expected to cost $12.8 million and will be funded in part by a $54 million federal FASTLANE grant. ADOT's biggest goals for the design are to ensure accuracy, reliability and durability.
For more information on dust-storm safety, visit pullasidestayalive.org.