By John Halikowski / ADOT Director
For those of us in Arizona, summertime means much higher temperatures during the day, not-so-cool nights in the desert, and the monsoon that brings memorable lightning shows and dust storms. The weather officials designate monsoon season from mid-June to mid-September. At ADOT, our crews remind everyone of the do’s and don’ts of driving through a dust storm with our "Pull Aside, Stay Alive" education campaign. Your safety is important to us at ADOT, so I encourage you to follow our messages and avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
ADOT is doing more than an education campaign. We are partnering with Arizona State University in having a meteorology graduate student work with our Traffic Operations Center in Phoenix, monitoring weather and providing real-time insight into changing conditions. We can deploy our crews and communicate to the public on pending weather conditions, like dust storms, to make our roads safer for travel, especially during the monsoon. It is a unique partnership I’m proud exists at the agency.
This past month, we witnessed the need to close I-10 in both directions several times near San Simon due to blowing dust from a neighboring farm. Through that effort, we are witnessing enhanced coordination with multiple state agencies. Besides the law enforcement activity associated with closing a major highway during a dust storm, it sometimes requires us to work with other agencies like the Arizona departments of Agriculture or Environmental Quality to assist with dust mitigation efforts. As always, the Arizona Department of Public Safety is a key partner.
For the future, ADOT will work closely with the Arizona Department of Public Safety on implementing variable speed limits when weather conditions like dust storms warrant a reduction in the speed limit for safety.
Drive safely this summer. And wait on washing your vehicle until the monsoon ends!
This post originally appeared on ADOT Director John Halikowski's
LinkedIn page. He has led the agency since 2009.