Update: Powerful winter storm hampers travel across much of Arizona

February 21, 2019 - 4:35 pm

Multiple stretches of Arizona’s highways were closed as of Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 21, due to a powerful winter storm whose fury continues across much of the state.

With the heavy weather expected to last into Friday and snow forecast to extend into southeastern Arizona overnight, the safest option remains delaying travel to and through higher elevations until the Arizona Department of Transportation’s plows have cleared highways of snow and ice. Motorists in lower elevations may see some snow along with considerable rainfall.

Wherever they travel in whatever weather they face, motorists should slow down for safety and expect the unexpected. Those traveling in areas with snow and ice should give ADOT’s plows plenty of room to work, staying at least four vehicle lengths behind and never passing a working plow until the operator pulls over to let traffic pass.

As of 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, these were the major highway restrictions around Arizona. Because the situation remains dynamic, the best way to keep track of highway closures, restrictions and conditions is following ADOT’s Twitter account at (@ArizonaDOT), calling 511, using the free ADOT Alerts app available at ADOTAlerts.com and visiting the Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov. A pop-up alert on ADOT’s homepage, azdot.gov, has an updated list of major closures:

  • I-17 northbound at State Route 179, milepost 298
  • I-40 eastbound at State Route 95, with traffic detouring south on SR 95
  • Both directions of State Route 87 between State Route 188 and Payson, mileposts 238-250, and between Payson and Winslow, mileposts 254-337
  • Both directions State Route 260 between Star Valley and Heber-Overgaard, mileposts 256-302, and eastbound State Route 260 east of milepost 228 near Interstate 17 
  • Both directions of SR 89A between Sedona and Flagstaff, mileposts 375-398

If decide to travel, slow down for safety, budget plenty of time and leave prepared for the possibility that you will be delayed by closures related to weather and crashes. Four-wheel-drive vehicles and chains are recommended in areas with heavy snow.

ADOT has winter-driving tips available at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

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