ADOT maintenance crews work through the monsoons

Erosion along the roadway - the result of an East Valley monsoon.

A look at erosion caused by a recent storm.

Ever survey an Arizona freeway during a monsoon? If you have, you’re likely to have seen debris in the roadway, landscapes in disarray, damage and even flooding…

Now, have you ever wondered who gets to tidy that mess?

You guessed it…we do! Or, more specifically, ADOT’s various maintenance crews are responsible for cleaning up after a storm.

“The monsoons definitely keep us jumping,” says Highway Operations Supervisor Jerry Turner.

Turner recalls a recent storm that rolled through the East Valley about three weeks ago, leaving mudslides on the Loop 202 (Santan) and flooding in an area on the US 60.

“You can only be in so many places in one time,” said Turner, adding that in severe weather conditions, he can call in for backup from other maintenance orgs.

A little bit about the maintenance crews (or orgs)...

Each org is responsible for a geographic area and each employee within that org is responsible for large stretches of roadways within the area. These same employees also make up ADOT’s ALERT team.

Typically, they maintain the roads – fixing things like damaged guardrails and making pavement repairs.

But, during severe weather or major incidents on the freeway these maintenance crews put in hours making sure the road is safe and clear for drivers.

A closer look at the erosion of the landscaping along the roadway.

Erosion along the roadway - the result of an East Valley monsoon.

ADOT Maintenance Superintendent Craig Cornwell says during and after a storm, ADOT maintenance crews typically run into plugged storm drains filled with silt and leaves.

There's often damages due to erosion along the roadways, which sometimes creates a hazard on the roadways, needing immediate attention to address safety concerns for the traveling public.

“They’re using dump trucks, loaders and skid-steers (small loaders),” Cornwell said. “The equipment they need to utilize just depends on the rainfall.”

What drivers can do 
Drivers are always urged to use caution while driving in inclement weather. Cornwell says that drivers can call 911 to report a serious storm-related driving hazard in the road.

Turner advises drivers to slow down and give maintenance crews some room to work!

“Be patient,” Turner said. “When you see us working in the middle of a monsoon, we’re not there because we enjoy being in the rain, we’re there because something’s wrong.”

One last thing ...
You knew we wouldn't be able to end a weather-related blog post without reminding you at least once to Pull Aside, Stay Alive!