ADOT: Safety is focus for Labor Day weekend highway travel

PHOENIX — Drivers and passengers involved in traveling the state’s highways over the Labor Day weekend should focus on safety, including obeying speed limits, packing an emergency travel kit and remembering to bring face coverings during the current health situation.

Drive safely

That’s the message from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which is not scheduling any construction or maintenance closures along state highways, including Phoenix-area freeways, from Friday morning, Sept. 4, to late Monday, Sept. 7. ADOT will use its system of electronic message signs to provide motorists with highway conditions, travel times and safety information.

Drivers should be prepared to slow down and merge safely in existing highway work zones. For example, slower traffic can be expected along northbound State Route 87 between Fountain Hills and Payson, especially during peak travel times. A seven-mile stretch of northbound SR 87 approaching the SR 188 junction is narrowed to one lane due to damage to guardrail and fencing during the recent Bush Fire. Crews have made substantial progress on repair work, but an area remains reduced to one lane for safety reasons.

Heavy traffic also is anticipated along other state highways, including Interstate 17, during peak travel periods this weekend. ADOT will stage equipment at locations near I-10, I-17 and SR 87 in the Phoenix area to assist with incidents such as crashes or debris removal.

No matter the destination, those with plans to travel during the current health situation should bring face coverings and hand sanitizer, be prepared to practice safe distancing and follow other guidelines.

Motorists should exercise caution due to high wildfire conditions. Avoid pulling over and stopping in areas with grass and brush along highway shoulders since hot vehicle parts can ignite a fire. Take measures to prevent dragging trailer chains on highway pavement since just one spark can cause a fire.

Drivers should be ready for unscheduled closures due to crashes, disabled vehicles or other events such as wildfires. Pack extra supplies, including drinking water, in case of stopped traffic. Don’t forget medications, extra snacks and a way to keep your mobile device charged, in case you encounter slowing or stopped traffic.

Safe driving behaviors also include getting plenty of rest, buckling up and never driving while impaired. Please arrange for a designated driver if necessary. Check your vehicle, including tire pressure, before traveling. Don’t be a distracted driver. More information is available via ADOTRoadTripSafety.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, ADOT’s free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

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