maintenance crews

ADOT team members are already getting ready for winter

ADOT team members are already getting ready for winter


ADOT team members are already getting ready for winter

ADOT team members are already getting ready for winter

By Garin Groff / ADOT Communications
September 25, 2023
A group of people are gathered around a heavy-duty snowblower and receiving training on how to use the snowblower.

While summer weather lingers for desert dwellers, ADOT team members are already gearing up for winter.

And this season, that means branching out beyond the existing fleet of 200 or so snowplows as ADOT prepares to unveil two new high capacity snowblowers on highways with the heaviest snowfall. The photo above and this photo album show training held recently in Phoenix. 

These new snowblowers will be used on I-40, US 180, US 191, SR 67, SR 260 and SR 273,  highways that experience some of Arizona’s heaviest snowfall and take crews the longest to clear. Designed for heavy snowpack and ice, they clear highways faster and more effectively, especially on bridges and on roadways adjacent to barriers. They can blow snow 150-200 feet.

We’ll have more to share on these new snowblowers as winter approaches. And when Old Man Winter arrives, get ready to see a new way of snow removal in Arizona.

Meanwhile, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’ll get around Arizona’s high country when snow season arrives. We have plenty of information tips available on our Know Snow website at

Partnerships help produce new snow chain pull-out, SR 169 improvements

Partnerships help produce new snow chain pull-out, SR 169 improvements


Partnerships help produce new snow chain pull-out, SR 169 improvements

Partnerships help produce new snow chain pull-out, SR 169 improvements

By Ryan Harding / ADOT Communications
October 12, 2022

It's said that “teamwork makes the dream work,” and yes, it’s cliche, but there’s a good reason why. Here are two recent examples:

A new pull-out area on eastbound I-40 near Ash Fork is nearing completion that will allow commercial truckers to put snow chains on their semis. This came about after staff from ADOT’s Infrastructure Delivery and Operations (IDO) and Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) divisions met to discuss the possibility of a snow chain pull-out area and location.

The State Engineer’s Office came up with the idea originally and then gathered the two divisions to expand on the idea and plan details like the location of the pull-out area.

“It made sense to put the pull-out area on eastbound I-40 just west of Ash Fork to give truckers and other drivers an opportunity to put on snow chains before making the uphill climb toward Williams,” said Kevin Duby, ADOT’s Statewide Road Weather Manager.

Staff from the different divisions met to confirm the location and make plans. IDO maintenance staff is building the pull-out area while TSMO signing crews will fabricate and install the signs. The new snow chain pull-out area will be available for use during this year’s winter weather season.

Partnering with outside entities is helping bring improvements to a section of State Route 169 in Prescott Valley. A developer is building housing near SR 169 and SR 69. As is usually the case, any developer building new housing or businesses is required to make necessary improvements to the roads to accommodate the new traffic the development will bring to the area.

The developer needed to widen SR 169 to build a new eastbound left turn lane into the new housing development. Maintenance staff from ADOT’s Northwest District made pavement repairs to the area first so the developer could proceed with building the new turn lane. ADOT’s TSMO division also stepped in and helped the developer create a traffic control plan. They are also managing the traffic signals at the intersection of SR 169 and SR 69 to help traffic flow through the area while the developer builds the turn lane.

That project is expected to wrap up in a few weeks.

ADOT makes a habit of working together and forming partnerships in order to achieve goals. 

This cliffhanger is a real blast!

This cliffhanger is a real blast!


This cliffhanger is a real blast!

This cliffhanger is a real blast!

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
August 26, 2021

Keams Canyon Boulder Removal (July 2021)

It’s rare to come across a real-life cliffhanger.

It’s also not often that the word “blast” actually means explosion.

But today’s blog gives you the true meaning of both words.

The scene: State Route 264 in Second Mesa at milepost 378

The time: Early July, 2021

Key players: The Keams Canyon Maintenance Unit and a contractor

What’s at stake: A large boulder is on a ledge hanging over the highway below.

Here’s where our blog begins:

Tucked in the northeastern corner of Arizona, Second Mesa is known for finely woven Hopi clothing, brightly colored yucca baskets and the three villages that comprise it, Shongopovi, Sipaulovi and Mishongnovi.

It sits more than 5,700 feet high alongside steep cliff walls on SR 264 just east of State Route 87, an area where strong storms can push large boulders onto the highway.

Removing boulders on the road is old hat for the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Keams Maintenance Unit, which typically makes short work of such work using jackhammers and loaders. 

It was in June that crews spotted the unstable boulder. They were removing another rock on the same area of SR 264 at the time.

“This rock boulder was sitting on the ledge and potentially was going to come down at some point,” said Elliott Koinva, Keams Canyon highway operations supervisor.

It needed extra incentive to budge, which is why ADOT hired a contractor to blast this boulder into smaller pieces.

The work was captured by our photographers and you can see the results in the FlickR album above.

This is what happened:

  • Keams maintenance provided traffic control and lay down a two-foot layer of dirt below the unstable rock.  
  • Crews shut down the road.
  • Adams Contracting drilled three vertically aligned holes and used explosives to blast the boulder (watch a quick video of the blast) into pieces. 
  • Keams crews removed them safely from the highway.

“Kudos to the Keams Canyon Maintenance unit for a successful and safe boulder removal operation,” said Northeast District Engineer Ed Wilson.

SR 264 is not alone in needing boulder maintenance. Here's information about a project beginning on State Route 80 near Bisbee

Don’t Get Hot at ADOT Workers During Wildfires

Don’t Get Hot at ADOT Workers During Wildfires

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Don’t Get Hot at ADOT Workers During Wildfires

Don’t Get Hot at ADOT Workers During Wildfires

June 24, 2021

Some motorists upset with road closures due to multiple fires burning in Arizona are taking their frustrations out on ADOT personnel staffing the roadblocks.

ADOT does not decide which roads to close. Closures are determined by fire incident commanders who work in conjunction with law enforcement and ADOT, and motorists may face legal penalties for attempting to get around a barrier or other method used to shut down a road.

“We understand that especially for people who live in areas affected by a wildfire, this is a very stressful situation for the entire community,” said Rod Lane, an ADOT District Engineer who has handled fire-related closures for a number of years. “Our maintenance crews who close these roads do it to ensure that emergency responders can use the roads to access fire areas, evacuate residents and keep people out of harm's way. We’re doing our best to keep everyone safe.”

This also highlights the comprehensive nature of the work performed by highway maintenance crews. During most of the year, crewmembers do pavement work, repair guardrail and clean up roadside trash. Incidents such as wildfires highlight the crews’ commitment to public safety first and foremost.

ADOT crews sometimes encounter motorists who are angry and demand to be allowed to drive on a closed highway. Brett Rupp, an ADOT Highway Operations Technical Supervisor in Payson says, “ADOT maintenance crews live in and around the communities we serve and some of us have had to evacuate ourselves and our families. It’s unfortunate when one of our crewmembers is confronted by an upset motorist because people may not realize what that person standing in the heat and smoke for several hours is going through. His or her home may be at risk, but they are still on the job protecting the community.”

For updated information on road conditions and restrictions: