I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT, DPS preemptively close highways ahead of “treacherous” winter storm

ADOT, DPS preemptively close highways ahead of “treacherous” winter storm

February 22, 2023

Segments of I-40, SR 87, US 180 are closed; more highways may close if weather conditions deteriorate

PHOENIX – With extreme winter weather forecast for the high country, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety have taken the rare step to preemptively close select highways to keep motorists safe. As the storm system moves across the state, closures of additional highways may become necessary.

The National Weather Service is forecasting blizzard conditions and “treacherous driving conditions” that include wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour; 2-3 inches of snow per hour, beginning early Wednesday morning; and wind chill temperatures falling below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The strong winds will create hazards for drivers, especially for those of high-profile vehicles. 

Past experience with severe winter storms like this has shown it is only a matter of time before icy or windy conditions create situations where crashes or disabled vehicles block travel lanes. When those incidents occur and travel lanes are blocked, traffic behind the incidents is stopped, forcing those motorists to wait an extended period of time in extreme conditions for the incidents to be cleared and travel resumes. Because the forecast conditions are so extreme – no one should be at risk for being stuck in their vehicle – some highways will be closed preemptively as soon as weather conditions warrant.

These closures are in place, though additional highway closures may become necessary as weather conditions change (*Editor's Note: These closures were in place when this news release was sent early in the morning on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Since then, additional highways have closed and real-time highway conditions are available at az511.gov):

  • I-40 eastbound is closed at US 93 east of Kingman
  • I-40 westbound is closed in Winslow
  • SR 87 southbound is closed in Winslow
  • US 180 is closed north of Snowbowl, between mileposts 236-248

These highways will reopen when it is safe to do so.

Drivers who choose to travel on other roadways during this week’s storms should be prepared to spend extended time on the road in extreme winter conditions. You should avoid traveling in winter weather to avoid situations where highways are impassable for long periods of time. Tracking the forecast and packing an emergency travel kit before traveling are among ADOT’s safety recommendations.

Motorists can get real-time information about highway conditions from ADOT’s 511 Traveler Information System by visiting az511.gov, downloading the AZ511 app or calling 511. Travelers can also look to ADOT’s statewide network of electronic signs for informational messages. ADOT’s Twitter feed (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) also provide information and answers about highway conditions.