TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Transportation is launching a brand new, first of its kind dust detection and warning system on the 1-10 for the start of this monsoon.
The system stretches 10 miles between Phoenix and Tucson. It will tell drivers to slow down when dust reduces visibility on the road.
“A pilot program developed by ADOT to improve safety in this area that is especially prone to dust,” said ADOT Spokesperson Garin Groff.
ADOT has placed an array of sensors to detect when dust picks up between Picacho Peak and Eloy. Message boards will turn on with safety information for drivers and the speed limit signs may change depending on how the dust is impacting visibility.
“Variable speed limit signs will adjust the legal speed limit from 75 to as low as 35 miles per hour,” Groff said.
The goal is to help drivers get through this stretch of road safely. ADOT says the system is set for the official start of monsoon on June 15.
“This is an area far outside any major population center where we don’t always have reliable information about real time conditions,” he said.
Drivers may notice a tower with a weather radar system at 1-10 and State Route 87. The National Weather Service will monitor the radar and pair the information with what’s already received from radars in Tucson and Phoenix.
ADOT says if you find yourself caught in a dust storm while driving, take the nearest exit or pull off the road. Once pulled over, turn off your car lights, put the emergency brake on, and take your foot off the brakes.