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Dangerous, dusty day forces 62-mile closure

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 22:32:09-04
COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It is such a dangerous, dusty day on Interstate 10 that the road was closed from US 191 all the way to the New Mexico border.
 
The closure forced drivers to take an 120 mile detour between Safford and Lordsburg New Mexico.
 
KGUN9 drove through the dust in a DPS cruiser with Trooper Kameron Lee at the wheel. We were in a total brown out in a matter of seconds.
 
"I'm gonna have to slow down here to about 20 miles an hour so we can make sure we do this safely," said Lee.
 
Looking down at just the stripe, we could only see about three of the dotted stripes ahead of us.
 
The dust was that thick.
 
"Yeah and here we go right now.  I'm down to about 20 miles an hour and we have ten, fifteen feet of visibility in front of my vehicle," said  Lee.
 
Conditions like this led to an accident and closure April 25, and a crash that destroyed a trooper's car Thursday of last week. He was out of the car and unhurt.
 
Last Saturday dust prompted ADOT and DPS to close I-10 twice then it closed last night and today.
 
Traffic headed east has been forced off at US 191.
 
Drivers headed to and from New Mexico have had to swing through Safford where gas stations like LeAnn Earven's have been total chaos.
 
"Everybody's wanting to go to the bathroom.  They don't know where they're at.  They want to get back to I-10.  They're totally lost on some of the people," said Earven.
 
DPS and ADOT say dangerous dust like this can come up so fast they will not hesitate to close the road again.
 
If you get caught, the advice is to pull all the way off the road and turn off all lights and take your foot off the brake so the brake lights go dark.