I-17 101 traffic interchange

Wrong way sign project begins in southern Arizona

Wrong way sign project begins in southern Arizona

May 18, 2021

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is beginning a project to install larger, more visible wrong way signs along southern Arizona’s three interstate highways as part of an ongoing effort to get the attention of drivers who travel in the wrong direction.

The more visible signs are one of ADOT’s countermeasures to reduce the risk of serious crashes by wrong-way drivers, who are frequently impaired when entering highways in the wrong direction. 

The sign project is part of an ongoing statewide initiative to replace older signs with ones that are easier for drivers to see because they are larger and closer to the ground. The “wrong way” and “do not enter” signs will be posted at freeway exit ramps. 

Crews will begin work to install the southern Arizona signs this week, with the project continuing into early 2022. The project includes new signs along: 

  • Interstate 8 in Pinal County (State Route 84 to I-10)
  • I-10 in Pinal, Pima and Cochise counties (Sacaton Rest Area to the New Mexico border)
  • I-19 in Pima and Santa Cruz counties (Tucson to Nogales)

The project is paid for with federal highway safety funds. ADOT will also add white pavement arrows pointing in the correct direction of travel, both at interchanges where signs will be installed and in areas where crews upgraded signs in recent years.

Most work will occur on ramp shoulders, with short delays or ramp closures possible at some locations. Freeway traffic will not be affected.

Along with installing larger signs, ADOT’s efforts to reduce wrong way crashes includes a first-in-the-nation thermal-camera wrong-way vehicle alert system along some freeway segments in the Phoenix area.

The updated red wrong way signs along exit ramps have been enlarged from 30 by 24 inches to 48 by 36 inches. At the same time, the bottom edge of the signs will be about 3 feet above the ground, rather than 7 feet, so they are closer to a driver’s line of vision.

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.