Prepare for traffic, do your research if heading to play in the snow

US 180 near Flagstaff sees heavy traffic, delays on busy winter weekends

PHOENIX – With light snow in the forecast heading into a long weekend, winter recreation areas along US 180 near Flagstaff are likely to attract heavy traffic that leads to delays.

Those planning to visit snow-play areas along US 180 over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend should leave prepared to spend extended time in winter weather – and to face traffic backlogs getting back to Flagstaff that increase as the day goes on.

They also should prepare for the trip by researching the locations of snow-play areas and whether those areas have enough snow to be open. The Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau lists snow-play locations at FlagstaffArizona.org and offers a hotline at 844.256.SNOW with the latest snow conditions.

Don’t park along highways or interstates to play in the snow. That’s dangerous for you, other drivers and first responders. It also can exacerbate traffic congestion on US 180.

Once they get to Flagstaff on their trips home, those heading to points south at day’s end can save time getting to Interstate 17 by taking a marked alternate route to Interstate 40 at Butler Avenue, via Switzer Canyon Drive and Route 66, then heading west to I-17.

Motorists traveling to Arizona’s high country should allow extra travel time with snow in the forecast and prepare as they would for any extended period in cold weather. That includes taking winter coats, blankets, a fully charged cellphone and portable charger, plenty of fuel, drinking water, snacks and medications. ADOT offers more tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Give snowplows a wide berth, staying four car lengths behind. Never pass a snowplow that’s clearing a road.

ADOT’s Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook (facebook.com/AZDOT) accounts are excellent sources of information on traffic conditions, as is the ADOT Traveler Information Center available at az511.gov or by calling 511.