Rain and wind storms from this year's monsoon have derailed trains, delayed flights and forced transportation officials to shut down roads. Arizona 360 learned more about dust-detection software the Arizona Department of Transportation is installing along a vulnerable stretch of Interstate 10 to prevent dust-related crashes.
New technology will detect if high amounts of dust particles are in the air that could hamper visibility. It will automatically activate warnings on electronic road signs and lower the speed limit on variable speed limit signs. Cameras will allow workers at ADOT's traffic operations center in Phoenix to monitor the situation in real time.
"We can't stop a dust storm. But what we can do is give you the information as a driver so that you can pull aside and let the dust storm pass," public information officer Tom Herrmann said.
Installation of the new alert system is expected to finish in fall 2019. It coincides with ongoing construction to widen the interstate near Picacho Peak and build a new interchange at State Route 87.