I-17 101 traffic interchange

When it comes to snow, ADOT has a plan to help keep highways open

When it comes to snow, ADOT has a plan to help keep highways open

December 2, 2020

PHOENIX – When winter storms come through Arizona, major interstates like I-40 and I-17 are affected, impacting thousands of cars and trucks traveling on the highways. Fortunately, the Arizona Department of Transportation has a plan to help keep primary routes like interstates open during winter storms.

ADOT has a prioritization plan for plowing state highways in areas where it snows. Heavily-traveled roads like interstates that carry local and cross-country traffic come first. ADOT will have many of its 200 snowplows stationed at various points along interstates and other heavily-traveled highways when the snow begins to fall.

State routes with lower traffic volumes are considered secondary routes as not as many vehicles use these roads. Once the interstates are cleared, ADOT snowplow operators will take care of these local state highways.  

ADOT will also close certain state highways as part of its plan to deal with winter weather. SR 67 leading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, state routes 261, 273 and 473 in the White Mountains area, and SR 366 heading up Mount Graham in southern Arizona all close for the winter. 

ADOT closes these state highways because of the heavy amount of snow they receive, and places like the North Rim close for the winter anyway. Closing these highways allows ADOT to keep its snowplows focused on interstates and other state highways. Crews return to these highways in the spring to plow them and get them ready for reopening.

ADOT has its plan for dealing with winter weather in Arizona, and we want drivers to have a plan as well. That plan includes leaving prepared before heading to the snow. 

Check az511.gov before you leave to check road conditions. Wait out the storm if possible giving ADOT’s snowplows time to clear the highways of snow and ice. Also, take a fully charged cell phone, warm clothing and an emergency kit that includes blankets, food and water, medication and sand or kitty litter.

Check your vehicle before heading out in winter weather, making sure – at a minimum – that the tires, heater and windshield wipers are in good shape. 

Get more information and tips at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.