PHOENIX - As thousands of drivers look ahead to trips to campsites, cabins and beaches, the Arizona Department of Transportation is working to keep state highways as open as possible over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
ADOT and its contractors will not schedule any full construction closures along state highways between Friday afternoon and late Monday night.
Drivers are still urged to plan ahead and allow extra travel time, especially in areas where lane restrictions may be in place due to existing work zones.
As they have done over recent major holiday weekends, ADOT, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Governor's Office of Highway Safety are teaming up with local first responders to urge drivers to "expect the unexpected" and to be prepared for unscheduled restrictions due to disabled vehicles, crashes or incidents such as brush fires.
Last year, six people were killed in four fatal crashes along Arizona highways and local streets over the extended Labor Day weekend. That was a slight decrease from 2013, when eight people lost their lives in motor-vehicle crashes over the holiday weekend.
ADOT's network of overhead message boards, as well as some portable message signs, will be used to post safety and highway-condition messages. For example, drivers can expect to see messages that remind them to stay alert when out on the road.
Highway crews also are staging equipment such as front loaders and utility trucks at strategic locations along I-10 southeast of Chandler, I-17 in north Phoenix and Cordes Junction, and along State Route 87 north of Fountain Hills. The equipment will allow crews to respond as soon as possible if crashes or disabled vehicles occur along these often-busy holiday travel routes.
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:
-Obey posted speed limits
-Avoid the busiest travel times, often Friday and Monday afternoons, if possible
-Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver in advance
-Be prepared for unexpected closures as well as changing weather conditions, including blowing dust and possible thunderstorms
-Pack extra drinking water and snack foods in case traffic is stopped due to a crash or disabled vehicle up ahead
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is working with local law enforcement agencies on a holiday DUI enforcement campaign.
You can check on statewide highway conditions on ADOT's Travel Advisory site at az511.gov or by calling 5-1-1 (within Arizona). Traffic information also is available on ADOT's Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT).