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PRESS RELEASES

ADOT, DPS advise drivers to be prepared for weekend winter storm in state’s high country

Avoid travel in high country during storm, mid-day Saturday through Sunday afternoon

Friday, February 25, 2011 -

PHOENIX – With a forecast of more heavy snow falling in the state’s high country this weekend, drivers are advised to be prepared in case closures of Interstates 17 and 40 are necessary due to safety concerns.

The National Weather Service has advised ADOT that heavy snow can be expected between midday Saturday and Sunday as another winter storm system crosses Arizona.

ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) anticipate closures of I-17 and I-40 will occur if heavy snow creates conditions that are deemed hazardous. Snow also is forecast at lower elevations, which could affect other highways in areas such as the Verde Valley, Prescott and Gila County – including Globe.

Last weekend’s storm forced closures of northbound Interstate 17 between the State Route 179 interchange, or Sedona turnoff, and Flagstaff after several incidents, including vehicles sliding off the highway.

A stretch of eastbound Interstate 40 also was closed between Kingman and Ash Fork during the storm due to a fatal crash involving two commercial trucks. In addition, SR 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona and US 180 about 15 miles northwest of Flagstaff were closed due to heavy and drifting snow.

ADOT has more than 160 snowplows that operate within its northern and eastern Arizona districts. Snowplow operators in the Flagstaff region will again be prepared to work 12-hour shifts while clearing snow and ice from state highways.

As with all winter storms, ADOT’s first priority is to keep Interstates 17 and 40 open to traffic. However, if blowing and drifting snow become severe and conditions are deemed too slippery, those busier routes can be closed.

Drivers who travel in winter conditions are urged to reduce their speeds and give themselves extra distance when following other vehicles.

ADOT recommends drivers stay up to date on both weather and highway conditions before heading into the high country once this weekend’s storm arrives. Drivers can log on to ADOT’s Travel Information site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 for highway condition information. You also can track major highway conditions at www.twitter.com/ArizonaDOT.

Drivers can find safe driving tips and a list of items to have in your vehicle when heading into winter conditions on ADOT’s “Know Snow” website at www.azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

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