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PRESS RELEASES

Official Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Press Release Regarding Road Closures and Conditions. Caution urged for travelers in the high country.

Please check http://www.az511.gov or call 511 for the latest updates

Saturday, January 23, 2010 -


Arizona

Department of

Transportation

NEWS


For Immediate Release: Jan. 22, 2010

Contact: ADOT Media Relations

ADOT Media Line: 1.800.949.8057

CLOSURE UPDATE: Interstates 40 and 17 to Reopen Tonight; Safety Top Concern

Drivers: Be Cautious in Changing Conditions

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation will reopen I-40 in both directions from Flagstaff at 7 p.m. Friday. The highway had been closed from Kingman to Winslow, a 180-mile stretch across Northern Arizona.

I-17 will reopen at the same time for southbound traffic only. On Saturday morning, I-17 northbound from the Sedona turnoff (State Route 179) is expected to open, allowing time for additional runoff to drain from the highway.

While these critical routes will be reopened to all traffic, drivers are warned of continued threatening conditions. Blowing snow, flurries, drifts, high winds, low visibility and water running across roadways have been reported on both highways. Drivers are urged to use caution and to limit trips when possible. Roadways are passable but conditions may change based on weather conditions. Drivers should also be alert to possible roadway damage and reduce travel speeds.

Both I-17 and I-40 were closed on Thursday afternoon when an intense winter storm pounded the state, dropping more than two feet of snow. ADOT responded by actively working to assist motorists, support DPS officers and complete repairs and snow removal as quickly as possible. I-40 and I-17 are important corridors for state and national freight hauling, and are important routes for travelers. Because of this importance, ADOT applied all available resources to opening both highways as quickly as possible.

Heavy snow created unsafe conditions along both stretches of the interstate traveling to or through Flagstaff. ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety worked together with local agencies to protect motorists, including commercial truck drivers, who easily could have become stranded or involved in crashes in the snow packed and icy conditions.

Other ADOT highways of note:

-- State Route 87 closed (including off-road areas) between Bush Highway and State Route 188, south of Payson.

-- State Route 89a between Sedona and Flagstaff remains closed and is expected to reopen Saturday.

-- State Route 260 closed between McNary and Eagar due to blowing and drifting snow.

-- State Route 273 closed approaching Sunrise Ski Resort due to heavy snow.

For more information on travel conditions across the state, call 5-1-1 or visit www.az511.gov. For winter driving tips, visit www.azdot.gov/KnowSnow.