Consider waiting out storms so ADOT’s snowplows can do their work
With another snowstorm forecast Tuesday afternoon in Arizona’s high country, keep in mind that the safest option while snow falls is delaying travel until Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows have had time to clear state highways.
A highway can close suddenly due to crashes and fast-accumulating snow. During recent snowstorms, northbound Interstate 17 climbing out of the Verde Valley toward Flagstaff and a steep section of eastbound Interstate 40 at Ash Fork Hill, just west of Williams, have closed temporarily as conditions deteriorated.
With snow forecast Friday in Arizona’s high country, please don't take lightly the power and unpredictability of a winter storm as well as the potential for it to leave you stranded on a highway.
Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows will be out in force, but driving conditions are hazardous during winter weather. A highway can close suddenly if enough snow falls in a brief period or if there are crashes, slide-offs or both. That happened during Monday’s snowstorm, when northbound I-17 climbing out of the Verde Valley closed for several hours due to a serious crash.
Although most roads on the forest remain open including Forest Road 300, recent snow in the Rim Country has made some forest roads impassable. For public safety and resource protection, The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ Black Mesa Ranger District (BMRD) has implemented wheeled motor vehicle restrictions, which affect access to Woods Canyon Lake and the Mogollon Rim Visitor’s Center. Both locations have been gated closed due to icy conditions but are still open to non-motorized modes of travel including skis, snowshoe, and foot.
After a day of snow in Arizona’s high country, you’re likely to have company heading north Sunday to toss snowballs, make snow angels, etc.
Have a great time if you go. But do some essential research first, leave prepared to spend extended time in winter weather and avoid parking along highways to play in the snow.
With snow forecast Saturday in Arizona’s high country and possibly reaching lower elevations than usual, please don't underestimate the power of a winter storm or overestimate your ability to negotiate highways covered with snow and ice.
Arizona Department of Transportation snowplows will be out in force, but driving conditions are expected to be hazardous during the storm. A highway can close suddenly if enough snow falls in a brief period or if there are crashes, slide-offs or both.
As winter weather conditions approach and the chance for snow increases, the Flagstaff Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest will be closing a number of forest roads beginning tomorrow for the safety of visitors and to protect forest roads.
Because of the rapidly changing nature of winter storms, the Interstate 40 grade west of Williams got so much snow in brief period overnight Tuesday that the freeway temporarily closed.
The Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest has temporarily closed and locked gates on seasonal roads and day-use sites in the upper elevations of Mt. Lemmon due to weather-related unsafe driving conditions. The main road leading up the mountain, the Catalina Highway, will remain open but may close periodically due to weather-related issues.
State Route 67 between Jacob Lake (US 89A) and the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is scheduled to close for the winter season on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
ADOT doesn’t clear snow from SR 67 during the winter since North Rim visitor accommodations are closed. The highway reopens each spring, usually around mid-May. US 89A remains open during the winter.
ADOT reminds motorists heading into snow country to drive with caution and follow this advice: