Senator says 40-year-old project could stop dust storms


The monsoon is just around the corner, and with it comes the potential for deadly dust storms.
The Interstate 10 corridor from Tucson to Phoenix is always a big problem, but now a state senator believes he's found a solution.

In October 2013, a nasty dust storm overtook the I-10 just north of Picacho Peak. It caused a 19-vehicle pileup that killed three people.

"I'll never forget an SUV spinning through the air towards me, crashing into the median," said Sen. Steve Farley, a Tucson Democrat who was caught up in the carnage of the 2013 crash. “They are nothing to trifle with. These dust storms are serious business.”  Farley wasn't hurt, but seeing so much tragedy caused by dust has led him on a crusade to find the solution to keeping drivers safe. Now, he believes the answer has been right in front of us for the past 40 years.

"Save lives in six easy steps, courtesy of a 1985 report on a 1977 study," said Farley, holding up a United States Department of Agriculture report from long ago.

Farley said the USDA had a project just south of Picacho Peak in 1977. Bulldozers piled several berms 18 inches high beside the freeway, topped with native mesquite and salt cedar trees to form a windbreak.

"And if you look at the accident rates to that spot, comparing the '70s to the '80s and '90s, it completely eliminated the problem in that spot," said Farley.

For some reason the project was never expanded.

According to statistics from the Arizona Department of Transportation, dust storms on the I-10 between Casa Grande and Marana caused 144 crashes between 2001 and 2011. For that reason, Farley believes we should revisit the strategy from the ‘70s and see if it's really as good as it seems.
"It seems like a fairly easy solution and fairly cheap, too, and that's something we need these days is cheap and easy to save lives," said Farley.

Farley said the biggest challenge to the project would be getting private land owners along the interstate to get on board. He plans to reach out to some of those land owners soon.

ADOT said it currently uses warning signs on highways and awareness campaigns to keep drivers safe during blowing dust.

WARNING!  WARNING!  WARNING!  

DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH ON THIS ONE!!!!!

As an Arizona trial attorney, I have been involved for many years in cases against the State of Arizona for their neglect of conditions on Interstate 10.

Dozens and dozens of people have died in crossover accidents.  The State knows this.  The State has been sued for this.  The State has paid millions of dollars in lawsuit damages to the families bringing these claims, and there are many more cases still in the courts.

So, of course, recognizing these dangerous conditions, the State of Arizona has undertaken efforts to remedy the dangerous conditions, right?  To make it safer, right?  Nope, wrong.  Not even close.
In fact, not only has the State ignored the problem, but to date, the State still refuses to even admit there is a problem.

Question:  How many people will die before the State does something?  This remains to be seen, and the accidents are continuing.

Isn’t it interesting , that not until a State official personally experiences something like this, is there even any talk of getting something done?

Examples:

- In 1999, a friend of then Governor Hull was badly injured in a crossover accident on SR 51.  The Governor immediately ordered median barriers be installed throughout the entire metro area.

- Several months ago, a State senator was inconvenienced while driving home from work.  There now is a state law prohibiting panhandlers from pushing traffic buttons if they don’t intend to cross.

- Now, with dust storm season approaching, because Sen. Farley personally almost experienced the danger, something may be in the works.

We cannot get median barriers on Interstate 10 to prevent people from dying (last year, 5 members of the same family died in one crossover accident).

We cannot get a law against texting and driving, because there are too many laws already (yet, passing another one so a senator would have to be inconvenienced wasn’t an issue).

WOULD A FIX BE APPROPRIATE AND WELCOME IF IT COULD PREVENT DUST STORM ACCIDENTS AND DEATHS?  OF COURSE IT WOULD, BUT HONESTLY, ABSENT A HIGHER-UP GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIAL, OR A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER BEING AFFECTED, JUST DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. 

05/22: Holiday Weekend Closures


Happy Friday! We are having fantastic weather in Arizona for May! This weekend is also Memorial Day Weekend. 

We are happy to report that we are not showing any major closures on the I-10 Freeway in Arizona. Please continue to check back here as we will continue to update if there is any closure that you will need to be made aware of. 

With the millions traveling this long weekend, we urge everyone to drive safe, and to drive smart! Have a fantastic weekend!

PCSO deputy involved in fiery wreck on I-10



05/19/15 - Several westbound lanes of Interstate 10 were closed Tuesday morning near Casa Grande after a Pinal County sheriff's deputy was involved in a wreck and his patrol car caught on fire, according to law-enforcement agencies.


The deputy hit a semi on the right side of the road before 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
The collision caused the deputy's patrol car to burst into flames, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The deputy suffered minor injuries, according to a sheriff's spokesman.
The wreck forced authorities to close several lanes of traffic but by 6 a.m. all but one of the lanes had reopened.
Transportation officials said drivers should expect delays through the area on Tuesday morning.
The Sheriff's Office said the wreck was under investigation.

05/15: Weekend Closures


Happy Friday! We are expecting some rain and snow this weekend in Arizona! Please make sure you drive safe. Below are the latest updates as far as closures go.

Please check back for any updates and additions. Have a great weekend!

Interstate 10/ Riggs Road and Wild Horse Pass Blvd RESTRICTION: Westbound Interstate 10 (toward Phoenix) narrowed to one lane between Riggs Road and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in the Chandler area from 9 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday (May 17) to prepare pavement for future resurfacing. Westbound I-10 off- and on-ramps at Queen Creek Road closed. 

 DETOUR: Please allow extra travel time and be prepared to slow down and merge safely in work zone. Consider using ramps at Riggs Road or Wild Horse Pass Boulevard.

Eastbound Interstate 10 at Kolb Road closed overnight for maintenance work


05/14/15 - Eastbound I-10 will be closed at Kolb Road from 7:00 p.m. Thursday to 5:00 a.m. Friday.  Arizona Department of Transportation crews will resurface the road during that time.

Eastbound I-10 traffic will be detoured to the eastbound I-10 off-ramp at Kolb Road to the eastbound I-10 on-ramp at Kolb Road.

05/08: Weekend Closures



Happy Friday! We are showing a few closures throughout Arizona this weekend on the I-10 freeway. Please take note.

If you will be out and about for Mother's Day, please plan on taking different routes if you plan on being on the I-10 around these areas below.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Interstate 10/ Queen Creek Road and Loop 202 (Santan)

RESTRICTION: Westbound Interstate 10 (toward Phoenix) narrowed to one lane between Queen Creek Road and Loop 202 (Santan Freeway) in the Chandler area from 10 p.m. Friday to noon Saturday (May 9) for installation of overhead message sign and traffic-flow sensors. Westbound I-10 on-ramp at Wild Horse Pass Boulevard closed.

DETOUR: Use detour to westbound on-ramp at Chandler Boulevard. Please allow extra travel time.

Interstate 10/ Wild Horse Pass and Chandler boulevards

RESTRICTION: Westbound Interstate 10 (toward Phoenix) narrowed to one lane between Wild Horse Pass Boulevard and Chandler Boulevard from 10 p.m. Saturday to noon Sunday (May 10) for installation of overhead message sign and traffic-flow sensors. Loop 202 ramps to westbound I-10 closed. Westbound I-10 on-ramp at Chandler Boulevard closed.

DETOUR: Please allow extra travel time and consider alternate routes, including northbound Loop 101 to westbound US 60 (Superstition Freeway).

Interstate 10/ Wild Horse Pass Blvd and Riggs Road

RESTRICTION: Eastbound Interstate 10 (toward Tucson) narrowed to one lane between Wild Horse Pass Boulevard and Riggs Road from 9 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday (May 10) to prepare pavement for future resurfacing. Eastbound I-10 on- and off-ramps at Queen Creek Road closed.

DETOUR: Please allow extra travel time and consider using ramps at Wild Horse Pass Boulevard or Riggs Road.

05/01: Weekend Closures


Happy Friday! We are showing a few closures throughout the I-10 Freeway this weekend. Please take note and take any other routes if possible! Have a great weekend!

Interstate 10/ Chandler Blvd and Queen Creek Road
RESTRICTION: Eastbound Interstate 10 (toward Tucson) narrowed to one lane between Chandler Boulevard and Queen Creek Road from 10 p.m. Friday to noon Saturday (May 2) for installation of overhead message sign and traffic-flow sensors. Eastbound I-10 on-ramp at Wild Horse Pass Boulevard closed.

DETOUR: Please adjust travel schedule if possible to avoid restriction. Allow extra travel time and be prepared to slow down and merge safely when approaching work zone. Consider using eastbound I-10 on-ramps at Queen Creek Road or Chandler Boulevard while ramp at Wild Horse Pass Boulevard is closed.

Interstate 10/ Riggs Road and Wild Horse Pass Blvd
RESTRICTION: Westbound Interstate 10 (toward Phoenix) narrowed to one lane between Riggs Road and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard from 10 p.m. Saturday to noon Sunday (May 3) for installation of overhead message sign and traffic-flow sensors.

DETOUR: Please allow extra travel time and be prepared to slow down and merge safely when approaching work zone.

Interstate 10/ I-17 and SR 51
CLOSURE: Eastbound Interstate 10 closed between Interstate 17 (Stack interchange) and State Route 51/Loop 202 (Mini-Stack interchange) from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday (May 2) for tunnel cleaning and freeway maintenance. I-17 ramps to eastbound I-10 closed.

DETOUR: Eastbound I-10 traffic approaching closure can detour on southbound I-17 and reconnect with I-10 near Sky Harbor Airport.

Interstate 10/ I-17 interchange and 27th Avenue
CLOSURE: Westbound Interstate 10 closed between Interstate 17 (Split interchange) near Sky Harbor Airport and 27th Avenue, west of I-17 (Stack interchange), from 9 p.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday (May 3) for tunnel cleaning and freeway maintenance. Westbound Loop 202 and southbound SR 51 ramps to westbound I-10 also closed.

DETOUR: Westbound I-10 traffic can detour on northbound I-17 near the airport and reconnect with I-10 at the Stack interchange north of Van Buren Street.

Westbound Interstate 10 reopens at 51st Avenue after rollover crash



05/01/15 - The westbound lanes of Interstate 10 at 51st Avenue have reopened after a serious crash on Friday morning.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced the road closure just before 7:30 a.m. The road reopened before 8:00 a.m. but has caused heavy delays.

ADOT cameras showed a vehicle on the side of the road near the 51st Avenue onramp.
The condition of the driver is unknown at this time.

ADOT suggests exiting Interstate 10 far ahead of 51st Avenue to avoid delays. Drivers should also consider using the US 60 or Loop 101 as an alterative route.
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