ADOT wrapping up major wrong way sign project on Valley freeways

Work is agency’s latest phase of efforts to install more noticeable signs

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is completing a project to install hundreds of new, more visible wrong way signs along Phoenix-area freeways as part of ongoing efforts to get the attention of often-impaired drivers who go the wrong direction on off-ramps or in travel lanes.

Wrong way signs at SR 51 off-rampUpdated, more noticeable wrong way signs are among countermeasures the state is using to reduce the risk of serious crashes caused by wrong-way drivers.

The most recent $2.1 million sign project is a continuation of ADOT’s statewide initiative in recent years to replace older signs with larger and lowered “wrong way” or “do not enter” signs along exit ramps on Valley freeways and other Arizona highways.

As an example, updated red wrong way signs on posts along off-ramps have been increased in size from 30 by 24 inches to 48 by 36 inches. Over time, the bottom edge of such signs has been lowered to approximately 3 feet above the ground, rather than 7 feet, to have them closer to a wrong-way driver’s line of vision.   

The latest wrong way sign upgrades have included sections of interstates 10 and 17, US 60 (Superstition Freeway), State Route 51, Loop 101 (Agua Fria Freeway) and Loop 202 (Santan Freeway).

In addition to the ground-mounted signs along exit ramps, the current project includes dozens of large wrong way signs installed on bridges or sign structures on the Valley freeway system. These noticeable signs, measuring 5 feet by 8 feet, are above the left lanes of freeways where wrong-way drivers tend to travel

ADOT first installed 26 of these larger signs above the left lanes of I-17 in Phoenix in 2017 in association with the first-in-the-nation thermal-camera wrong-way vehicle alert system being evaluated by the state.

The wrong way signage project in the Phoenix area, paid for with federal highway safety funds, also has added more of the white pavement arrows pointing in the correct direction of travel along many of the freeway exit ramps where the new wrong way sign upgrades have been made.