ADOT updating Arizona’s strategic plans to enhance highway safety

ADOT updating Arizona’s strategic plans to enhance highway safety

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT updating Arizona’s strategic plans to enhance highway safety

ADOT updating Arizona’s strategic plans to enhance highway safety

April 15, 2024

Public input sought through May 17

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation is updating its Strategic Highway Safety Plan and creating the state’s first Active Transportation Safety Action Plan and is asking for the public’s input on safety concerns and priorities to help develop the plans. 

Federal regulations require each state to have a Strategic Highway Safety Plan for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on public roadways and to update that plan every five years. ADOT leads development of this plan in partnership with local, state, federal and other stakeholders so that all highway safety programs can leverage resources and work together effectively to enhance safety.

The Strategic Highway Safety Plan establishes a statewide vision and strategies for improving safety, with a goal of reducing life-altering crashes by 20% by 2030. The plan is based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe System Approach, which looks at all factors affecting safety and emphasizes a shared responsibility for improving safety on roadways. 

Meanwhile, ADOT and its partners are developing Arizona’s first Active Transportation Safety Action Plan to address a rise in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in Arizona, the vast majority of which occur on local roadways. This plan will recommend location-specific projects to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists where they interact with the state highway system. 

Information on both efforts is available at adotsafetyplan.com.

ADOT is holding public meetings to provide an overview of the plans and offer the opportunity for public input on safety concerns and priorities. The meetings will be held:

5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, April 30
Gateway Community College, Copper Room
108 N. 40th St.

5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, May 2
Flagstaff Aquaplex
1702 N. Fourth St.

5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, May 7
Ramada by Wyndham
777 W. Cushing St.

6 p.m. Thursday, May 9
Registration link: https://bit.ly/ADOTSafetyMeeting 

You also can provide input through Friday, May 17, in these ways:

  • Complete an online survey at: adotsafetyplan.com 
  • Email: [email protected] 
  • Call the bilingual phone line: 855.712.8530
  • Mail: ADOT SHSP & ATSAP, 1655 W. Jackson St., MD 126F, Phoenix, AZ 85007

For more information, please visit azdot.gov/SafetyPlan.


Hot weather means more “gators” showing up on Arizona’s highways

Hot weather means more “gators” showing up on Arizona’s highways


Hot weather means more “gators” showing up on Arizona’s highways

Hot weather means more “gators” showing up on Arizona’s highways

By Doug Nintzel / ADOT Communications
June 28, 2022

Since June 27-July 3 is “National Tire Safety Awareness Week,” an annual event sponsored by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), we thought ADOT could offer up some safety advice related to keeping an eye out for what many of us see out along our Arizona highways: pieces of tire debris.

Those shreds of treads have gained the nickname “gators” over the decades because many of them look like an alligator's back floating on the water’s surface. While alligators are primarily limited to zoos in the Grand Canyon State, there are plenty of “gators” waiting for unsuspecting, or for that matter even suspecting, drivers along the state’s network of highways.

ADOT gets plenty of help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and its troopers in responding to tire treads and also reminding drivers to stay alert to tire pieces and other debris that can wind up on highways. And without a doubt, there are things all of us as motorists can do to help reduce the risk of tire blowouts and the creation of Arizona gators.

Obviously, hotter summer weather can lead to more tire failures and debris, but it’s a year-round challenge. AZDPS troopers are kept busy tossing tire gators to a highway’s shoulder, possibly as they’re conducting traffic breaks (temporary stops of traffic) in order to clear debris. 

ADOT’s team of Incident Response Unit, sponsored by State Farm, members and maintenance crews also respond to calls about debris. However, it’s impossible to catch everything immediately along more than 6,500 miles of state highways. 

“We’re obviously very familiar with gators,” said Raul Amavisca, ADOT’s Central District engineering administrator. “We need all drivers to pay attention, keep their eyes on the road and be prepared for debris at any time. If you do that, you’ll increase your chances of being able to maneuver and avoid a tire tread and the damage it can cause.” 

ADOT crews do spot pickups of roadside shoulder debris along busy Phoenix-area freeways throughout the year. The agency’s freeway shoulder sweeping contractors also maintain weekly schedules for collecting larger debris items along those shoulders in advance of their overnight street sweeping work.

As for things you can do about your own vehicle’s tires, here is some information from a USTMA news release about this year’s National Tire Safety Week: “U.S. tire manufacturers recommend drivers check tire pressure at least monthly, regularly check tire tread depth and ensure vehicle tires are rotated and properly aligned. Proper maintenance and periodic inspections by a tire professional are essential for optimum performance and service life of tires and can help ensure lower overall inspection impacts.

USTMA also offers the following safety advice: “To help motorists remember these important tire maintenance actions, USTMA encourages drivers to remember the acronym “P.A.R.T.” – Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread. Tire safety essentials are especially important this year as significant numbers of motorists are back in their cars embarking on summer road trips.”

ADOT echoes the summer road trip safety recommendation, especially as we look ahead to the Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends. Plan ahead, pack an emergency prep kit, check your vehicle for things such as tire pressure and condition. Don’t forget extra drinking water and other items that can help if an unscheduled stop in traffic occurs. Expect the unexpected, even if that includes a “gator.” 

New year means renewed hope

New year means renewed hope


New year means renewed hope

New year means renewed hope

By Doug Nick / ADOT Communications
December 31, 2021

The New Year. 

Filled with promise and potential, for good or ill.

The New Year.

It’s an odd turn of phrase, isn’t it? A “new” year? Is it really so new to commemorate an astronomical reality that this planet has taken another lap around the sun? In fact, Earth has swirled around our star for so long, we really don’t know how many laps have really been taken. 

What’s new is actually kind of old hat.

But celebrate we do, and why not? It’s a good chance to kiss the past 12 months goodbye and hope, just a little, that whatever comes will be better than what is past. Ah, the triumph of hope over experience. 

At the ol’ ADOT Ranch, we know some things to be hopeful and others are certain. People will still need to get from point A to point B and if that happens to be on an ADOT-maintained roadway, we are not hopeful but instead we’re certain we’ll do everything to get you “Safely Home." "Safely Home" is our “True North, " by the way. 

We are certain that at some point, maybe even as you’re reading this, the effects of nature will cause problems. Whether it’s snow, rain, dust or a wayward heifer, our dedicated employees who are on the job 24/7 every day of the year, will do their best to get those problems solved, safely and efficiently. 

Here is where certainty requires a bit of hope:  We hope, with all the hope we can muster, that every driver will do his or her best to drive safely and responsibly. Don’t drive distracted. Don’t drive if the road conditions are dangerous, and never, ever drive impaired by alcohol or other substances. We are certain that it’s far better that you get “Safely Home” than any alternative. 

So here’s to hope. Hope enriches, encourages and even emboldens us to press on each day as the road takes us to new destinations, new adventures and new people to help us experience them. 

Perhaps that’s it. Hope makes things new.

So… Happy New Year.

Avoid a conifer catastrophe; secure your Christmas tree

Avoid a conifer catastrophe; secure your Christmas tree


Avoid a conifer catastrophe; secure your Christmas tree

Avoid a conifer catastrophe; secure your Christmas tree

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
December 6, 2021

Gathering the family together to pick out a Christmas tree might be a tradition for some, but, unfortunately, so is improperly securing it to a vehicle.

Don't be that family. You know, the one that arrives home only to discover the tree didn’t complete the journey. The family whose merriment deflates like so much crumpled wrapping paper.

Besides, trees and highways are not a merry combination. It's kind of like getting coal in your stocking.

But more than that, properly securing a tree to the vehicle saves lives. Every spruce, pine or fir that lands on a highway is a hazard and a potential crash. One family's ejected evergreen could be another family’s holiday horror.

We at the ADOT Blog see too many trees littering Arizona roadways. Too many vehicles swerving suddenly to avoid them. Too many public safety responders risking life and limb to remove them from roadways. The highway is no place for a tree.

Whether your tree was purchased at a lot or you got a permit to legally remove one from an Arizona forest, here are some tips to help secure your tree and keep your spirits bright:

  • Supplies: Pack strong rope, nylon ratchet straps, tie-downs and, depending on your vehicle, an old blanket that can be placed on the roof of a vehicle.
  • Netting: Some tree lots will offer to wrap the tree in netting. This can protect your vehicle from being scratched by branches and also helps when it's time to secure the tree to the vehicle roof.
  • Positioning: When placing the tree on the vehicle's roof, make sure the top of the tree is pointing behind the vehicle. 
  • Securing: Securely strap the tree at its trunk, middle and top.
  • Check: Do the tug test. Pull at the tree from different angles to make sure it is snug.
  • Drive smart: There is a large tree atop your vehicle. Make safe and smart decisions when driving that won't cause an evergreen ejection.

And, if you do see a Christmas tree -- or anything else that doesn't belong in highway travel lanes -- please call 911 and report it so the road hazard can be removed.

To read more ADOT blogs about securing your load, click on these: 

Driving safely home, secure your load

Is your load secure? Make sure! 

Be responsible, secure your loads and don't litter


Like our signs? Then you'll love the original highway message masters

Like our signs? Then you'll love the original highway message masters


Like our signs? Then you'll love the original highway message masters

Like our signs? Then you'll love the original highway message masters

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications
March 9, 2021

Folks tell us all the time that they love our unusual highway signs.

You know the ones we're talking about; the funny little sayings promoting traffic safety by riffing off of pop culture or holidays. People always comment on which is their favorite, offer their own suggestions, and our annual contest receives thousands of entries, so the driving public is getting a kick out of them.

We won't pretend to be the first to put amusing sayings on highway signs or even to be the most clever at it. Mainly because long before a department of transportation tried its hand, someone else was king of the road signs.

We are talking, of course, about Burma-Shave.

Drivers of a certain age will recognize the Burma-Shave sign to the right, which was captured by one of our ADOT photographers on State Route 66 near Seligman recently.

For all the younger folks out there, Burma-Shave was a shaving cream company that got going in 1925, founded by the Odell family out of Minnesota. After a whopping 143 different tries, a chemist working for the family came up with one of the holy grails of men's toiletries at that time – a brushless shaving cream. By the way, we can only give you a thumbnail sketch here, but if you want to read the full, fascinating story of the company, Route Magazine did a fantastic and informative look at them

As the article pointed out, they had a good product, but it's just shaving cream. There's nothing really special to differentiate it from other brushless shaving creams coming out around the same time from bigger, more established companies such as Gillette or Barbasol. They were little fish in a big pond and the cream wasn't exactly selling well.

That's when Allen Odell, son of the company's founder, approached his father with an off-beat idea. He wanted to take the well-established concept of a product jingle and apply it to the still new concept of road sign advertising. In short, he wanted to make a series of signs meant to be read sequentially, each having one line of the jingle, ending with the company's name. 

His father didn't jump at the idea. After floating it around to friends and family, he was told unanimously that Allen's idea wouldn't work. But his son was persistent and was eventually given $200 to try it out. The first boards went up along two local roads in Minnesota. It wasn't too long after that the older Odell noticed drug stores along those routes were repeatedly purchasing more of the shaving cream. The cheeky advertising schtick seemed to be paying off.

Soon drivers across America started seeing Allen's jingles pop up along their drive.

The majority covered cute sayings about saving money, getting a superior shave or attracting a significant other. In 1934, drivers would have seen this diddy along the road:

He had the ring

he had the flat

but she felt his chin

and that 

was that 


However, they, much like ourselves, sometimes dove into slightly more serious topics with verses warning against things such as drunk driving. For example, this verse from 1940:

It's best for

one who hits

the bottle

to let another

use the throttle


If you are really interested, you can go to Burmashave.org and read every jingle, sorted by year. They range from clever to groan-inducing, but they almost always elicit at least a chuckle. 

The company continued to grow, and at its peak had 7,000 signs in 45 states. The signs were painted red and white to make them stand out from other advertisements. They were also placed in sets of six, each 100 feet apart so passengers had three seconds to read each one when going at a speed of 35 mph (things went a lot slower back then). Since they evoked such a sense of Americana, Burma-Shave signs were even erected to help ease homesickness for U.S. troops in Korea and even Antartica. 

As these sign jingles grew in popularity, the company had the same idea we did – why not have an annual competition and throw open the doors for anyone to come up with a clever jingle? 

Much like us, the company had standards for what could ultimately go up on their signs. One of the Odell children recalled that he always knew when the sign contest was happening because of the ones that were not so appropriate. His father would get a list of the off-color jokes, bring them home and – after getting safely behind closed doors – would have a good laugh over them with his wife. 

So what happened to this iconic bit of advertising? Well, Burma-Shave was bought by the American Razor Company in 1963 and the signs started to come down after that. Only one complete set of original signs remain, and those are housed in the Smithsonian.

But, you might ask, what about your photos here from State Route 66 near Seligman? Well, it's all a part of the town's carefully crafted aesthetic to recapture the magic of the mother road. Several sets of signs were set up along the highway and permission was even obtained to use some of the original Burma-Shave messages, though they are a five-sign variant instead of the usual six-sign sayings. These signs are also kind of ironic, as Arizona was one of the five states not to have Burma-Shave signs before the company was bought out. 

The clever reminder to slow down that's running through this blog is from SR 66 as you are heading westbound from Seligman.

Along that same stretch you'll also find this helpful reminder:

Cattle crossing

means go slow

that old bull 

is some cow's beau


If all this sounds like something you want to get a look at yourself, or you just want to capture the motoring spirit of yesterday, then SR 66 is the drive for you.

But please do us one favor. Just like with ours, we ask that you heed the signs.

ADOT to close state route SR 67 for the winter Tuesday

ADOT to close state route SR 67 for the winter Tuesday

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT to close state route SR 67 for the winter Tuesday

ADOT to close state route SR 67 for the winter Tuesday

November 30, 2020

ADOT to close state route SR 67 for the winter Tuesday
Annual closure of highway to Grand Canyon North Rim


PHOENIX – With the winter months rapidly approaching, the Arizona Department of Transportation will close State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (US 89A) and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

ADOT closes a number of highways every year  as part of the agency’s winter shutdown schedule due to significant amounts of snowfall these regions typically receive.

In addition to the SR 67 closure, highways such as state routes 261 and 273 in the White Mountains will close by Dec. 31, though they could close sooner depending on the weather.

ADOT reminds motorists heading into snow country to drive with caution and follow this advice:

Don’t let GPS and navigation apps replace common sense. When a highway is closed, a suggested alternate route involving an unpaved, unplowed road can lead you into danger.

Pack an emergency kit, a fully charged mobile device, extra clothing, blankets, water and snacks.

Slow down. Drive defensively. Be patient and allow additional time for your trip. Never pass a snowplow.

Leave sufficient space between your vehicle and those ahead of you. Give yourself plenty of room and time to stop or to avoid hazards.

Make sure your vehicle has plenty of fuel.

Check weather and road conditions before you travel. Let someone know your route.

Bring a small bag of sand (or cat litter) for wheel traction.

Download the ADOT Alerts and AZ 511 apps to keep up on the latest road conditions and restrictions.azdot.gov/KnowSnow

Additional information on winter driving is available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.