Drivers with plans for a road trip over Labor Day weekend in Arizona should be prepared for hot weather and busy highways at times. The Arizona Department of Transportation will not be scheduling any full highway closures for construction along state highways during the extended holiday weekend. ADOT recommends drivers check their vehicles for maintenance issues and pack some extra items as a safety precaution:
ADOT and its contractors will hold off on any full highway closures from Friday afternoon, Sept. 2, until early Tuesday, Sept. 6. Drivers should still allow extra travel time and be prepared for lane restrictions in some existing work zones.
- Busiest times for state highway travel over the holiday weekend are expected to be Friday afternoon into the early evening hours for “getaway travel” as well as Monday afternoon when many travelers will be returning home. Interstate 17 and State Route 87 are usually among the busiest highways over Labor Day weekend.
- Expect the Unexpected: Be ready for unscheduled highway closures due to disabled vehicles, crashes or other incidents, such as wildfires. Plan for hot and potentially stormy weather in areas, stay alert and bring along essential items in case of a stop in traffic. More ADOT information about summer travel, adverse weather and safety trips can be found here.
- Motorists should pack extra drinking water and other items including blankets, a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, a fully charged cell phone and charger, snacks, baby diapers if necessary and a small tool kit.
- Allow extra time for existing work zones: For example, southbound Interstate 17 is narrowed to one lane in separate areas for an ongoing pavement improvement project along the 30-mile-stretch south of Flagstaff. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times including Monday afternoon when the holiday weekend is ending. The southbound I-17 on-ramp at Munds Park is currently closed for the project. A detour is in place.
- Example of another existing work zone: On SR 89A in Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona, traffic is alternating one direction at a time in the “Switchbacks” area due to an ongoing highway improvement project. Drivers can expect delays in the area. Please observe all traffic control devices and temporary signals for this work zone.
- Since travel delays over the weekend are possible, don’t forget other important items such as prescription medicines. A hat, sunglasses and umbrella – to help in rain or shine – also are good items to remember as the summer travel season transitions into fall.
Be prepared for changing weather conditions, including blowing dust. ADOT’s holiday weekend safe driving recommendations include:
- Never drive while impaired. Buckle up and obey speed limits.
- Arrange for a designated driver or ride service if necessary.
- Check your vehicle, including tire pressure.
- Get some rest before traveling. Fatigue is a serious safety risk.
- Avoid distractions. Don’t text while driving.
- Don’t park in areas with grasses and brush. Hot vehicle components could start a fire.