Comment today on ADOT’s Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan

The public and agencies across the state have until December 21 to comment on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan.

The plan, which is updated every five years, outlines strategies for meeting the state’s highway and bridge needs over the next 25 years. The CiviComment online tool, which is available on the project website, allows users to comment on the full report or comment on individual pages pulled from the document. The direct link to CiviComment is whatmovesyouarizona.civicomment.org.

ADOT spent the past two years drafting this update to the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which looks through 2040. The project team conducted stakeholder outreach, gathered extensive public comment across the state and worked through months of technical analysis.

During the 25-year period of this draft plan, about $923 million in annual highway capital funding will be available from state and federal sources. On average, the Phoenix and Tucson regions are expected to receive $512 million annually. Of that, $223 million comes from voter-approved regional programs in those two metropolitan areas dedicated largely to highway expansion. ADOT’s Recommended Investment Choice calls for all of the remaining annual average of $411 million to go toward preserving and modernizing highways in Greater Arizona.

The recommendation outlined in the Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan is in line with public and stakeholder outreach, in which most participants listed preservation, safety and modernization projects as their highest priorities for Greater Arizona.

The Long-Range Transportation Plan is expected to be finalized in early 2018.

Comments can also be sent to:

ADOT Project Information Line: 1.855.712.8530
Mail:

Long-Range Transportation Plan
c/o ADOT Communications
1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Arizona Department of Transportation and local agencies plan to improve State Route 89A corridor

PRESCOTT – The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and partnering agencies including the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization and Yavapai County are conducting a transportation planning study along State Route 89A from State Route 89 to east of Robert Road. The purpose of the study is to identify potential transportation improvements for the next 20 years as housing and commercial developments are anticipated to increase traffic volumes in the area.

ADOT will host a public meeting regarding the study on Tuesday, December 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Town of Prescott Valley Public Library located at 7401 E. Civic Circle, Prescott Valley, Arizona, 86314. A brief presentation will start at 6:15 p.m. followed by an open-house setting that will allow participants to speak directly with ADOT representatives. The public is encouraged to attend and provide comments.

Learn more about the study at:www.azdot.gov/SR89RobertRoadStudy . If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to comment, you can do so before Dec. 31 in the following ways:

By telephone: 855.712.8530
By email:Projects@azdot.gov
In writing: State Route 89A Study, 206 S. 17th Avenue, MD310B, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADOT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. Persons who require a reasonable accommodation based on language or disability should contact Michele Beggs at 928.681.6054 or MBeggs@azdot.gov. Requests should be made as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the accommodation.

Lane restrictions beginning this week on Milton Road in Flagstaff

FLAGSTAFF – Flagstaff drivers should plan for restrictions on a short stretch of Milton Road during daytime hours beginning next week as the Arizona Department of Transportation has permitted work in the right of way.

This permit work is scheduled to occur on northbound Milton Road between Phoenix Avenue and Mike’s Pike Street Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning December 4 through Friday, December 15. The following restrictions will be in place:

The northbound travel lanes will be shifted and traffic control devices will guide motorists through the work zone.
Left turns will be prohibited in the work zone and the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph.
Restrictions will be lifted during overnight hours.

Drivers should expect delays and consider alternate routes.

Sold your car? Don’t forgot to file a Sold Notice with MVD

PHOENIX – Have you sold your car online, to a person down the street, to a family member? Don’t forget to report that sale to the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division by filing a Sold Notice.

It’s not only the law; it can save you trouble – and money.

A Sold Notice should be completed within 10 calendar days of selling, trading in, donating or otherwise transferring ownership of a vehicle. It’s free and can be done anytime at ServiceArizona.com.

This notice ensures that MVD and law enforcement have a record of who currently owns the vehicle. If the vehicle is found abandoned, without updated sold notice information the previous owner will still be listed as the current owner and could get the bill for towing and other fees.

If a vehicle is abandoned on certain federal or state lands, owners can be charged $600 or more with storage fees also possible. Costs are similar for vehicles left on private property.

There also have been cases in which the prior owner of a vehicle without a Sold Notice on file has been contacted by law enforcement because that vehicle has been used during a crime.

In such cases, there are ways for you to prove that you sold the vehicle. But filing a Sold Notice will save you that trouble.

“A Sold Notice protects consumers,” said MVD Stakeholder Relations Manager Jennifer Bowser-Richards. “If the vehicle is sold and is later in a crash or used in a crime, or if it’s simply abandoned, the MVD will have a record of the sale. That means a former owner won’t be responsible for abandoned vehicle fees, or worse called into court to explain why the vehicle was used in a crime or crash they had nothing do to with.”

The process is simple via ServiceArizona.com:

  • Enter vehicle and seller’s information
  • Enter the buyer’s information and the date vehicle was sold
  • View and/or print a confirmation
  • Complete an optional survey

MVD also keeps an eye out for unscrupulous unlicensed or licensed dealers who may attempt to sell a vehicle as though they are actually a private seller. When a vehicle is sold by a private owner to a dealer, a Sold Notice will alert MVD if that dealer attempts to re-sell the vehicle privately, and ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division will investigate.

For more information about abandoned vehicles and Sold Notices, please visit azdot.gov/mvd.

SR 67 to North Rim of Grand Canyon will close for winter Tuesday

PHOENIX ‒ State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (US 89A) and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is scheduled to close for the winter season on Tuesday, December 5.

ADOT doesn’t clear snow from SR 67 during the winter since North Rim visitor accommodations are closed. The highway reopens each spring, usually around mid-May. US 89A remains open during the winter.

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 cellphone, extra clothing, 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.

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

Before heading out on the roads, drivers can call 511 or visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov tp get the latest highway conditions around the state. The website features camera images along state highways that give drivers a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions.

When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

Work on Milton Road in Flagstaff to be rescheduled

FLAGSTAFF – Work that was scheduled to occur on northbound Milton Road this week and next between Phoenix Avenue and Mike’s Pike Street has been canceled because of weather-related concerns. Crews had been scheduled to replace a water line and construct new curbs, gutters and sidewalks on the east side of the roadway.

No dates for when the work will be rescheduled have been announced.

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grant boosts ADOT crash-data gathering

PHOENIX – A grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is helping the Arizona Department of Transportation collect fuller and more accurate vehicle crash data that, in turn, will help transportation engineers, law enforcement and researchers examine trends and causes of fatalities and serious injuries.

The $389,520 grant provides critical financial support for ADOT’s Crash Records Unit, including annual licensing fees to use Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS), a data collection and management tool. Through this grant money, ADOT provides access to TraCS to Arizona law enforcement agencies at no cost.

“TraCS is considered to be one of the best software platforms in the nation for managing electronic forms associated with traffic stops and crash reports,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Support from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Director Alberto Gutier is invaluable to collecting crash data and identifying trends, helping make Arizona’s roads safer.”

ADOT is responsible under state law for compiling crash data and creating comprehensive reports that government agencies, nonprofit groups and other entities statewide use to improve traffic safety. That includes annual Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts reports.

The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is the focal point for highway safety issues in Arizona. The cabinet agency provides leadership by developing, promoting and coordinating programs; influencing public and private policy; and increasing public awareness of highway safety.

For more information about the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, please visit azgohs.gov.

For more information about ADOT, please visit azdot.gov.

Arizona launches Traffic Incident Management website for responders

PHOENIX – A new website will help make traffic incident response more efficient and vehicle travel safer for motorists in Arizona.

Created by the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Traffic Incident Management website – tim.az.gov – debuts this week with the goal of being the go-to resource for Arizona TIM responder training.
TIM freeway

“Effective Traffic Incident Management keeps the public safe, emergency responders safe and traffic moving,” said Derek Arnson, ADOT’s Traffic Management Group manager. “It’s important that everyone who responds to a traffic incident, from law enforcement to tow truck operators, are working together and following the same practices.”

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) is the coordinated practices, responsibilities and cooperation of emergency responders, which includes law enforcement, fire departments, medical services, transportation crews and tow truck operators, at traffic incidents. These coordinated efforts help keep crash victims and emergency responders safe, while restoring traffic flow.

A primary focus in building the website was to create a central location for all of Arizona’s incident responders to sign up for and receive TIM training.

While the website is geared toward emergency responders, tips for the public can be found there, too, including videos and infographics related to Arizona’s “Move Over” law, “Quick Clearance” and work-zone safety.

A plank road was once the way between Yuma and San Diego

Arizonans think nothing of a quick weekend drive from Phoenix to San Diego’s beaches in about six hours. But a century ago, that trip could take the better part of two days across primitive roads and nearly impassable sand dunes.

Horses were more reliable for traversing sand dunes until enterprising road builders came up with a boardwalk for motorcars in 1915.

That’s right. Early adopters of horseless-carriage technology built a road of wooden planks across seven miles of sand west of Yuma in California. Arizona notably did not follow California down the path of building wooden roads.

The Plank Road and the Colorado River bridge at Yuma, completed in April 1915, were key steps forward for motorists traveling across the Southwest deserts in the early 20th century. Those advancements also were factors in competition between San Diego and Los Angeles to be the western terminus for a cross-country highway along a southern route.

The Colorado River State Historic Park in Yuma has a Plank Road display with a Model T automobile. There’s also a preserved section of the Plank Road at the Bureau of Land Management’s Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area south of Interstate 8 on the Gray’s Well Road about 12 miles west of Yuma. That’s where this Bureau of Land Management photo was taken.

Plank Road skeptics like civil engineer Joseph Lippincott, an Auto Club of Southern California consultant, pegged the wooden highway as “the most asinine thing he had ever heard of,” according to a San Diego Tribune report at the time.

But the road, despite its flaws, carried traffic for more than a decade until it was replaced in 1926 by an asphalt road that became US 80 and more recently Interstate 8.

One Yuma merchant praised the Plank Road. “It is no ride across the Sahara Desert, but rather a pleasure trip anyone can enjoy,” the man said, according to B. Johnny Rube in his 1996 book A Wooden Road Through the Hollow of God’s Hand.

Initially, the Plank Road was boards laid in parallel tracks to provide a path for adventurous drivers. In 1915, the California Highway Commission took over the Plank Road, installing 12-foot by 8-foot wooden sections on the dunes west of Yuma.

The knock on the one-lane Plank Road was that it forced drivers traveling in opposite directions to use pullouts every 1,000 feet to pass each other. Maintenance was a constant problem as horse-drawn scrapers were used to clear the sand, which damaged the planks and made for a rough ride. Sand drifted across the planks and drivers would “lose” the road and end up stuck in the sand. That created commerce for the Fort Yuma Quechan Indians whose horses served as the tow trucks of the era, pulling cars out of the sand and back onto the Plank Road, said Tina Clark, historian of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.

The Plank Road was an extension of previous methods early motorists used to get through sand dunes and other difficult terrain.

In 1910, the National Highway Association employed a pathfinder named A.L. Westgard to explore cross-country routes from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles. He’s been described as the “Marco Polo of the Motor Age.”

While scouting a route called the Trail to Sunset , Westgard used rolls of canvas on the sand to get across the Yuma dunes. He later carried wooden planks on his vehicle to get across sand or mud flats, according Arizona Highways, published by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

ADOT and its plows are prepared for winter weather. Are you?

PHOENIX – With winter on the horizon, the Arizona Department of Transportation has spent months preparing for snow and ice that storms will dump on the state’s higher elevations.

ADOT has 375 certified snowplow operators ready to operate the agency’s nearly 200 snowplows, which are stationed around the state to keep people and commerce moving when snow falls on highways.

Now it’s time for drivers to do their part, starting with following essential safety tips available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow to prepare themselves and their vehicles for winter travel. That includes slowing down, leaving extra room behind the next vehicle, taking along warm clothing, blankets, food and water, and packing an emergency kit.

Your preparations should include staying apprised of weather conditions and being ready to postpone travel so ADOT’s snowplows can clear roadways. A highway takes much longer to plow when it’s jammed with vehicles that had no business traveling on a roadway that’s slick with snow and ice. That happened last Christmas Eve, when a powerful storm dropped inches of snow per hour, closing a long stretch of Interstate 40 in a tangle of crashes and stranded vehicles that took many hours to clear.

A snowplow can’t clear a highway if it’s pulled out of service when another vehicle hits it. That happened several times last winter, fortunately without significant injures. Every vehicle, from semis to passenger cars, needs to give snowplows room to work – a minimum of four vehicle lengths to allow room to stop.

Avoid passing a snowplow that’s clearing a highway until the driver pulls over to let traffic pass. Never assume a snowplow operator knows your vehicle is nearby. If you can’t see the plow driver, there’s a good chance the driver can’t see you.

Always remember: The safest place on a highway when it’s snowing is behind a snowplow.

Heading to sled and throw snowballs? Do that in designated areas away from highways, not parked on shoulders, which are for emergencies only. Parking on a highway shoulder to play in the snow distracts other drivers and can interfere with first responders who may need to use the shoulder. If that isn’t reason enough, keep in mind that a snowplow can hurl large amounts of snow and ice well away from a highway.

ADOT recently installed signs along a stretch of US 180 northwest of Flagstaff reminding drivers that parking on the shoulder is for emergencies only.

Those heading to popular snow-play areas should be prepared to spend extended time in winter conditions, as traffic at day’s end is often heavy on highways including US 180 toward Flagstaff. In addition, highways can have extended closures from crashes and weather conditions.

Prepare for trips by visiting the ADOT Know Snow website (azdot.gov/KnowSnow), which has tips on making sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving, driving safely on highways with snow and ice, driving safely while snowplows work and packing supplies in case a vehicle becomes stranded. For example, a little cat litter or sand will provide traction if a vehicle becomes stuck along the roadway.

Before heading out, drivers can call 511 or visit ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov for the latest highway conditions. The website features real-time images along state highways that give drivers a glimpse of weather in various regions. ADOT’s Twitter account (@ArizonaDOT) and Facebook page (facebook.com/AZDOT) are sources of real-time information and interaction.

When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, ADOT’s free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas – where possible, in advance of alternate routes.