ADOT dust detection project: Crews install variable speed limit signs, sensors

If you've ever driven to the Tucson area during the monsoon, you know that drive can be dangerous because of all the dust in the area. Next season, it should be better as the Arizona Department of Transportation is finishing up its dust detection and warning system.

ADOT crews have been installing sensors, cameras, overhead message boards and variable speed limit signs along 10 miles of Interstate 10 between Eloy and Picacho Peak.

The message boards will let drivers know about low visibility due to dust storms, while the speed limit signs will change from 75 miles per hour down to 35 miles per hour for when there is blowing dust.

There's also a new weather radar tower that can detect storms from more than 40 miles away.

The system is expected to be up and running in the next two weeks.

Officials stated, "Technology can’t replace common sense when it comes to driving into a dust storm. Though drivers will have almost instantaneous warnings about hazardous conditions along these 10 miles, the safest course of action will remain putting off travel if a severe storm is imminent. If caught in a sudden dust storm in or beyond the pilot area, a motorist should pull far off the roadway, turn off lights and remove one’s foot from the brake."

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