Arizona DOT to bring dust detection, warning system to I-10

The system will combine several existing technologies with new approaches

March 18, 2019
road traffic safety; dust storms; messaging

The Arizona DOT (ADOT) is preparing to install a first-of-its-kind dust detection and warning system along I-10, known to be one of the most dangerous roads during dust storms in Arizona.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the warning system will be located between Sunshine Boulevard and Picacho Peak Road along roughly 10 miles of the interstate, which serves as a major connector from Phoenix to Tucson.

The dust detection system will combine several existing technologies with new approaches, including closed-circuit cameras to enable ADOT and other public safety officials to see how limited the visibility has become in the area. According to ADOT, the technology is designed to recognize an approaching dust storm, warn ADOT and drivers of that threat, and slow drivers down to a safer speed. The project is being funded by a $12.8 million federal FASTLANE grant.

Some additional highlights of the safety improvement project include a system of spot and long-range sensors to measure dust and visibility along the interstate and miles beyond into the desert west of I-10; a series of variable speed limit signs on I-10 to gradually slow drivers from 75 mph to 25 mph; a system of loop detection sensors embedded in the roadway to provide data about drivers’ speed in the affected area during a dust storm; and a series of overhead electronic message boards to provide safety messages in real time to drivers in the path of the storm.

The project is anticipated to be completed by fall 2019.

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Source: Arizona Daily Star / Arizona DOT

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