UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. — ADOT reported at about 3:30 today that “traffic is mostly back to normal” on I-17 northbound, north of the Valley.
Heavy traffic leaving Phoenix for the high country created long delays Saturday morning and into the afternoon on northbound I-17 from Anthem northward.
“As of about 10 a.m. Saturday, traffic is slow on much of a 20-mile stretch of I-17 spanning from Anthem to the Sunset Point Rest Area,” ADOT said in a statement this morning. “There is no estimated time for the delay to clear.”
There were no crashes or blocked lanes, ADOT tweeted at 10: 53 a.m. — just heavy traffic.
By 1 p.m., the backup was slightly less long, from just north of Black Canyon City back to Anthem.
Not that anyone is going very fast, but the speed limit in the northbound lanes is reduced 10 mph today for portions of that same stretch, in an effort to reduce crashes. The speed restriction will be in place Tuesday for southbound lanes, as travelers return to the Valley. The restrictions were planned in advance in a program piloted on Memorial Day weekend this year.
ADOT advises drivers to plan for extra travel time and bring cold water, snacks and any medication that might be needed in the event of a long delay. The agency recently received funding, as part of a five-year plan, to widen stretches of the interstate to three lanes, to help relieve congestion like this.
Don’t be surprised by the delays. AAA had predicted this weekend would see the highest traffic volume of any 4th of July holiday since 2007.
Traffic updates are available at www.az511.gov, on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or by calling 511.
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