Troopers Arrest Wrong-Way Driver in First for New Detection System on I-17

For 15 years, In&Out Magazine has been the definitive source of “Everything that’s going on” in and out of the community. We thank you, our readers, as well as the businesses that support the magazine through advertising, for that opportunity. But with little going on, and many businesses suspending or canceling their ads during the Covid-19 crisis, we are suspending publication of the magazine and web sites for the month of May. 


ADOT — The wrong-way detection and warning system being tested along 15 miles of Interstate 17 in Phoenix alerted officials early Thursday to a vehicle traveling southbound in the wrong direction between Loop 101 and Bell Road, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

No crash resulted from the incident, which involved the first vehicle detected on I-17 travel lanes in Phoenix since the wrong-way system went into operation in January.

At 1:11 a.m., the system sounded an alert that a wrong-way vehicle was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-17 at Union Hills Road. The vehicle exited shortly after, turned around and reentered I-17 going the right way in the northbound lanes. While traffic operators and DPS continued tracking the vehicle, state troopers alerted through the system stopped the driver and took him into custody on suspicion of DUI.

[The system has previously detected drivers attempting to enter the freeway in the wrong direction, and the warning portion of the setup caused most if not all of them to turn around, ADOT said last month.]

The $4 million system includes 90 thermal detection cameras positioned above exit ramps and the mainline of the freeway between the I-10 “Stack” interchange near downtown to the Loop 101 interchange in north Phoenix. It’s designed to provide immediate alerts to ADOT and DPS so traffic operators can quickly warn other drivers via overhead message boards and state troopers can respond faster than relying on 911 calls from other drivers.

A detection by this first-in the-nation system sets off a loud horn in ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center as a window appears on operators’ workstations showing video from the thermal camera and providing other data. Using a computerized decision support system, operators can immediately activate digital message boards in the area alerting drivers and instructing them to exit the freeway.

If the detection is at an off-ramp, an internally illuminated wrong-way sign with red flashing LEDs will activate. It’s positioned along the ramp to attract the attention of wrong-way drivers, most of whom are impaired, often severely.

As it studies results from the wrong-way system along with partner agencies, ADOT is planning to install it along Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway that’s scheduled to open in late 2019 and is looking at adding it to other freeways.

In addition to Thursday’s detection, the system has detected more than 20 vehicles entering I-17 off-ramps and frontage roads in the wrong direction. None of these other vehicles is believed to have entered I-17 travel lanes, with the majority of drivers turning around on exit ramps.

Technology like the I-17 thermal camera system cannot prevent all wrong-way crashes from happening. The primary goal is reducing the risk of serious crashes by alerting DPS and ADOT to wrong-way vehicles much faster than waiting for 911 calls from other motorists. Faster detection is a key to giving law enforcement officers an improved chance of responding to a wrong-way vehicle.


Help Save Our Community
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and even more so this community. Supporting local businesses during this crisis can help keep our community economically viable. Please strongly consider supporting the businesses below, In&Out Magazine's display advertisers, as well as those in the Classifieds section of the magazine (see the full April 9 issue in PDF form). Many of these businesses have been part of the fabric of this community for two decades, not just serving our professional, service and retail needs but stepping up to support local charities, sports teams and so much more. Tip: If you know you’ll need to schedule a service, consider contacting a local business you trust and paying the standard fee for the deferred service. The links below go to their web sites.

Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates • 602-242-4592
Anthem Senior Living • 602-909-9550
Appliance Pros • 502-501-5501
Business Network of Anthem • 623-455-9630
Carroll Law Firm • 623-551-9366
Century 21 Real Estate - Jeff Huff • 623-223-1221
Creative Home Enhancements • 623-551-5409
Daisy Dream Homes Real Estate • 623-879-3277
Daisy Mountain Dentistry • 623-551-5250
Desert Foothills Air Conditioning • 480-595-0938
Edward Jones • 623-551-0523
Element Dental Centers • 623-551-5555
Hand & Stone Massage • 623-551-6602
Kendallwood Design • 602-252-3844
Kodiak Roofing • 602-501-7717
Luv My PC • 480-703-6609
Merrill Gardens • 623-201-4881
North Valley Water Solutions • 623-551-0515
Preferred Business of Anthem • 623-551-0523 
Prickett Realty • 623-551-8111
ProSkill Services • 623-551-7473
RE/MAX Professionals - Mike Higgins • 623-640-7502
Rise Above Remodeling • 623-551-2013
Soft Water Plus • 623-551-7383
SonoranScapes Landscaping • 602-842-9948
State Farm Insurance - Justin Simons • 623-551-3700
Storage at Anthem • 623-226-8634
Sunset Cabinets • 623-687-6579
Thompson & McGinnis Attorneys at Law • 602-952-2666
Titan Tree Care • 623-444-8448
Titan Pest Control • 623-879-8700
Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical • 623-551-6688

For more local businesses, see In&Out Magazine Classifed Ads >>>  
 
PRESS RELEASE
North Phoenix News posts selected press releases, unedited, when we think they’d be of broad interest to one or more communities in the region. The organization submitting the press release is responsible for its contents, and press releases are labeled to distinguish them from news and features we report and write. (See more press releases.)

PRESS RELEASE

North Phoenix News posts selected press releases, unedited, when we think they’d be of broad interest to one or more communities in the region. The organization submitting the press release is responsible for its contents, and press releases are labeled to distinguish them from news and features we report and write. (See more press releases.)

press-release has 184 posts and counting.See all posts by press-release