PHOENIX - Arizona Department of Transportation workers on Wednesday began installing new signs to get the attention of wrong-way drivers along Valley freeways.
Even though “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs are already in place along freeway ramps, larger versions will be installed at six freeway interchanges, lower on their posts, to test if that could help in alerting confused or impaired wrong-way drivers.
The Valley on Monday saw its fifth wrong-way crash since mid-May.
The six interchanges where the work is being done were identified in an earlier research study as places with a history of wrong-way vehicle incidents, based on 911 calls made to the Department of Public Safety.
Crews will also be adding pavement markers in the shape of an arrow pointing in the right way along the exit ramps. The markers have reflectors that are colored red as a warning to any drivers going the wrong way on the ramps.
The changes are being made at the following freeway interchanges:
- Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway (State Route 74)
- Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Thunderbird Road
- Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Peoria Avenue
- Interstate 10 and Ray Road
- Interstate 10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
- Interstate 10 and Queen Creek Road (State Route 347)
The new signs are increased in size from 30 by 30 inches to 48 by 48 inches and will be placed three feet from the ground rather than the current seven feet.
It is not known how long the new signs and other changes will be studied before a decision is made to expand the program to other freeway or highway locations.
ADOT says there are more than 100 traffic interchanges on the Phoenix-area freeway system and more than 475 interchanges along the rest of the state highway system.