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Safety agencies to work along I-17 ‘safety corridor’ over holiday weekend

7/1/2015

NORTH VALLEY – Heading out of town for the Independence Day weekend? The I-17 will be made into a “Safety Corridor” this weekend to help avoid accidents and keep traffic moving safely.

Last weekend saw multiple accidents on the I-17 outside of the north valley. On June 27, a brush fire closed the I-17, backing traffic up in both directions for miles.

ADOT reports that state and local agencies are focusing efforts on promoting safety along the busy stretch of Interstate 17 between north Phoenix and Camp Verde.

As they have done on major holiday weekends in recent years, ADOT, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will team with local first responders in making I-17 a “Safety Corridor” over the upcoming weekend.

Last year in Arizona, nine people were killed in a total of seven fatal crashes along highways and local streets over the Independence Day weekend. The tragic figures were higher in 2013, when 16 people died in 15 fatal crashes across the state.

Officials say drivers hold the key to safety, and they stress the importance of being patient, obeying speed limits, buckling up, and avoiding distractions. While the “Stay Alert, Stay Alive” safety campaign is under way, DPS will place an emphasis on speed enforcement, especially during the busy Thursday, Friday, and Sunday afternoon travel periods.

ADOT’s I-17 overhead message boards will be used to post safety and highway-condition messages. Highway crews also are staging equipment such as front loaders and utility trucks at strategic locations along the highway, including the Outlets at Anthem mall and the Sunset Point Rest Area. The equipment will allow crews to respond as soon as possible if crashes or disabled vehicles need to be cleared.

Drivers are urged to check their vehicles, including tire pressure, and get a good night's rest before heading out on a trip.

Motorists also are urged to:

Buckle up
Obey speed limits
Avoid the busiest travel times if possible.
Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver in advance
Be prepared for unexpected closures during warmer weather and possible thunderstorms.
Pack extra drinking water and snack foods in case traffic is stopped due to a crash or disabled vehicle up ahead.

State agencies also will work with the Black Canyon City and Daisy Mountain fire departments as part of the I-17 safety corridor campaign. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is working with local law enforcement agencies on a holiday DUI enforcement campaign.

While holiday traffic can be unavoidable, ADOT can help drivers avoid some of the worst areas and provide estimates on delays. See current traffic maps and sign up for customized reports at www.az511.gov.

 

Pack the Necessities
Anytime you travel in Arizona, be sure to bring extra drinking water. You should also have a fully charged cell phone and emergency travel kit with essential tools. Also bring these items:
A flash light with extra batteries
Safety flares
Battery cables
Extra radiator water, especially if you’re traveling in hot weather and/or driving on highways with dramatic uphill climbs
A first-aid kit that includes pain relievers and any necessary prescribed medications
Snack foods
A road map

See more tips at www.azdot.gov.