PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has added large “Wrong Way” signs on Interstate 17 bridges and other structures between the Interstate 10 “Stack” interchange and Loop 101, facing in the direction of potential wrong-way drivers.
That’s the same 15-mile stretch where ADOT is installing a first-in-the-nation wrong-way detection and warning prototype that uses thermal cameras.
Placing these “Wrong Way” signs, each measuring 8 feet by 5 feet, is another way ADOT is testing countermeasures to get the attention of wrong-way drivers on I-17.
Twenty-six of the signs, 13 in each direction, have been installed to face the wrong direction of travel along I-17. They are mounted above the left lanes of the freeway because research has shown that wrong-way drivers, most of whom are impaired, likely will be traveling in those lanes.
Measures already in use to get the attention of wrong-way drivers include larger, lowered “Wrong Way” signs at many freeway off-ramps in the Phoenix area as well as interchanges on other state highways. Crews also have added large white arrows with red reflectors on the travel lanes of dozens of exit ramps to point out the correct direction of travel.
ADOT’s pilot I-17 wrong-way vehicle alert system in Phoenix is scheduled to be fully operational early next year. Thermal cameras will detect wrong-way vehicles on I-17 off-ramps, alerting ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, posting warning messages to drivers traveling in the right direction along the freeway and activating an internally illuminated, flashing “Wrong Way” sign on the ramp as a way to get the driver’s attention.