Speed Reductions Planned for I-17 This Weekend North of Phoenix

UPDATE 5/26, 12:16 p.m.: ADOT reports delays already occurring on northbound I-17 around Black Canyon City. Also, the agency is staging equipment along I-17 at Anthem to respond more quickly to any possible crashes in the treacherous stretch to the north.

 Heading north this weekend? Plan to slow down. In the interest of safety, the speed limit on the crash-prone section of I-17 from New River to Sunset Point Rest Area will be reduced by 10 mph during peak times this Memorial Day weekend, ADOT announced today.

On Friday, May 26, speed will be reduced in the northbound lanes. On Monday, May 29, the speed reduction will be enforced on southbound lanes.

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Temporary signs will alert drivers of the lower speed limits, and temporary electronic signs will remind drivers how fast they are going, according to an ADOT statement.

Officials think it’s “the first time the agency has lowered the speed limits for these peak travel times on a holiday weekend,” ADOT spokesperson Doug Nintzel said by email. “Speeding has been a leading factor in many crashes out there, so be smart and don’t push the safety envelope this summer,” he advised.

Stepped-up Enforcement

“State Troopers will be on the lookout for speeding, aggressive driving and driver impairment while also participating in DUI-saturation patrols organized by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety,” ADOT said. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced it will conduct multiple DUI saturation patrols, speed enforcement operations, and other efforts to catch distracted drivers, seat-belt violators and aggressive and hazardous drivers —  now through the weekend.

An ADOT study found that law enforcement cited “speed too fast for conditions” in more than 40 percent of I-17 crashes that occurred in the Black Canyon City region between 2011 and 2015.

A crash Sunday, May 14 stopped southbound traffic in the winding stretch for more than four hours.

Meanwhile, a $1.1 million project slated for completion later this summer is adding overhead message boards on this stretch of highway to alert drivers to traffic conditions and driver speed.

Note: ADOT is suspending all road construction closures for the holiday weekend.

Crash-Prone Stretch

Accidents on I-17 between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point:
2011: 94
2015: 137

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North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

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North Phoenix News staff writers and editors often work together to produce articles like this one.

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