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Oct 29, 2013 6:03 PM by Brian White

Interstate 10 closed in both directions near Picacho Peak

PHOENIX -Interstate 10 is closed in both directions this afternoon following multiple crashes in the Picacho Peak area, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The crashes are believed to be related to blowing dust. They occurred between milepost 214 and 216.

There is no indication when the freeway will reopen, but this is expected to be an extended closure. Motorists are advised to avoid the crash area.

Drivers looking for an alternate route from the Tucson area may take State Route 77 north to State Route 79 north to State Route 287 west to State Route 87 north to State Route 587 south to reconnect with I-10. Travelers from the Phoenix area may use SR 587 north to SR 87 south to SR 287 east to SR 79 south to SR 77 south into the Tucson area.

Drivers are advised to stay alert because strong winds can result in sudden periods of limited or zero visibility due to blowing dust, especially in desert areas. Motorists play an important role in safety when operating their vehicles during a dust storm.

ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recommend the following driving tips when encountering a low-visibility dust storm:
• Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
• If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle (front, back and to the side) and begin slowing down.
• Do not wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to safely pull off the roadway - do it as soon as possible. Completely exit the highway if you can, away from where other vehicles may travel.
• Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane; look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway.
• Turn off all vehicle lights, including your emergency flashers.
• Set your emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
• Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.
• Drivers of high-profile vehicles should be especially aware of changing weather conditions and travel at reduced speeds.
• Be alert that any storm can cause power outages to overhead roadway lighting and traffic signals. Drive with caution and treat all intersections without signals as having stop signs in all directions.

For more information driving tips, please visit PullAsideStayAlive.org.

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