ADOT to install new technology to help detect dust storms

ADOT is hoping to make that drive on I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson safer during the monsoon season.

Along with adding more lanes, a new dust detection system is part of the overall improvement project.

"You can't see. Visibility completely at zero. I see a lot of cars pulling over," said Shy'torri Franklin, who commutes on the I-10.

Traveling along the I-10 between Eloy and Picacho Peak can be dangerous.

"I commute from Arizona City to Tempe every day for work, and its pretty bad," said Franklin. "I call in a lot to let my manager know I'm going to be late due to accidents."

She's looking forward to the day when ADOT warns her, in advance, of a dust storm ahead of her.
The dust detection system will be the final piece of the freeway expansion project in the area.
Along with adding a third lane in each direction, ADOT will also add a dozen radars along a 10-mile stretch of I-10.

"This is the spot where half of all the crashes between Phoenix and Tucson have taken place over a five-year period," said Tom Hermann with ADOT.

A long range radar will look out for upcoming storms, and short range radars, which will be installed every mile or half-mile, will detect dust particles in real-time. The information will then be broadcast to drivers.

"We'll have electronic message board over the freeway. Dust Ahead. Slow Down," said Hermann. "Variable speed limit signs from 75 mph to 35 mph to try to prevent crashes by going more slowly,"

The goal is to inform drivers before they hit a wall of dust, helping them decide whether to pull over and wait it out, or avoid it altogether.

"It'd give me an opportunity to take a different route if I needed to," said Franklin.