I-17 ramps to close for wrong-way detection system install

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The Arizona Department of Transportation says it'll close several I-17 off-ramps next week to install a wrong-way driver detection system.

The overnight closures will impact Camelback Road on Monday night through Tuesday morning; Bethany Home Road on Tuesday through Wednesday; Glendale Avenue from Wednesday through Thursday and Northern Avenue from Thursday to Friday.

[RELATED: ADOT starts work on wrong-way vehicle detection system along I-17]

The project will cost $3.7 million and comes after several fatal wrong-way crashes, including one in August that left four people dead after a 19-year-old Casa Grande man drove on the wrong side of I-17. The four killed were California residents who were driving to the Grand Canyon.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wrong-way drivers]

ADOT's new system includes thermal cameras designed to detect wrong-way cars on I-17 and an alert system for drivers and police.

Wrong-way crashes have caused at least 12 deaths in Arizona so far this year.

Last weekend, thermal cameras detected two wrong-way drivers on the Loop 101, a freeway we didn't know had that capability. Those less-advanced cameras were installed a year ago for signal timing. ADOT just reprogrammed them to include wrong-way detection.

[READ MORE: VIDEO: ADOT's thermal cameras detect two wrong-way drivers]

We caught up with ADOT earlier this week about how effective the new system on the I-17 will be.

"While we can't look at this and say, this is the thing that can prevent all crashes, one of the things is, it can alert us that much faster." said Doug Nintzel with ADOT.  "It can alert DPS faster so that troopers can respond, and it can alert ADOT faster so that we can get messages for example on the overhead message boards."

The system should be up and running by early next year.

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