Finding ways to combat wrong-way driving

Posted: Updated:
(Source: ADOT) (Source: ADOT)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona State Transportation Board has scheduled a special meeting Friday to announce a construction project grant to one of three bidders to work on a system to help prevent wrong-way drivers.

The board's decision will follow its approval last month of a $3.7 million plan to construct a thermal-detection system after Gov. Doug Ducey called for state agencies to combat the deadly issue.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona wrong-way drivers]

The Arizona Department of Transportation says the project will span a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17. Spokesman Steve Elliott says officials have accelerated the project by pre-ordering materials. 

According to a news release on the ADOT website, the system will take a three-phase approach when a wrong-way vehicle is detected: alerting wrong-way drivers so they can self-correct, warning right-way drivers and notifying law enforcement.

Once operational, the system will use thermal cameras, warning signs for wrong-way drivers and advisories for right-way drivers along a 15-mile stretch of I-17. In addition, the system will automatically focus highway cameras on the wrong-way vehicle and send automated alerts to the Highway Patrol, helping troopers intercept vehicles faster.

On freeway ramps, wrong-way vehicles will trigger alerts, including illuminated signs with flashing lights, aimed at getting drivers to stop. The system will immediately warn other drivers through overhead message boards as well as law enforcement. Cameras in the area will automatically turn to face the wrong-way vehicle so traffic operators can better track it. On the freeway, thermal cameras placed at one-mile intervals will signal when a wrong-way vehicle passes so State Troopers plan their response and get out in front of the wrong-way driver, providing a faster response.

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