$3.7 million Arizona wrong-way driver prevention project gets OK

The Arizona Transportation Board approved a $3.7 million plan to install a thermal detection system on Interstate 17 in Phoenix to help prevent wrong-way drivers.

The action came a week after Gov. Doug Ducey called for stepped-up action to help deter wrong-way drivers on Valley freeways. That came a day after two people were killed in a wrong-way crash on a State Route 51 transition ramp connecting to Interstate 10 in Phoenix.The Arizona Department of Transportation has been planning to implement the system for months.

The system will use thermal detection cameras to locate wrong-way vehicles. The system will alert the wrong-way driver, as well as other drivers and law enforcement, using flashing lights on freeway ramps, illuminated signs and messages on overhead boards, ADOT said in a press release.

The system is expected to begin construction sometime this fall on a 15-mile stretch along I-17 from I-10 to Loop 101, and be completed over several months, ADOT said, adding that the agency is exploring ways to begin the work sooner.