TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Dust is just part of life in the desert but when it blows out on the desert and over the interstate it can be deadly. Now the Arizona Department of Transportation is opening bids on a system to warn drivers about dangerous dust.
You can be having a peaceful drive down I-10 when suddenly conditions turn dangerous in a hurry. The wind has kicked up, the dust is in the air and now it is so hard to see you might as well be blindfolded.
Six people died last year when dust caused a 25 vehicle wreck on I-10 near New Mexico.
In 2011 dust pulled 13 vehicles into a chain reaction wreck near Casa Grande. One person died.
Brittany Ashby knows what it's like when thick dust surrounds you.
"And it was scary and I pulled over and all I could hear was different horns honking and I didn't know were the cars were so I think this would be a good idea."
The idea she's talking about is ADOT's plan for a first of its kind system to detect dust, use variable signs to reduce the speed limit or warn drivers to pull over to safety.
ADOT is opening bids on the plan now. Estimated cost is about 12.8 Million for ten miles of I-10 near Picacho.
Sensors will be between mile markers 209 and 219.
But this world is full of stubborn drivers. Will they take the warning and pull off to safety, or push through?
Alberto Carbajal says he’ll play it safe. “I mostly have children with me and I look after my family. Even if they're not with me I try to be careful. I always go slow."
The state transportation board will consider the bid next month. If they give the program a final green light the warning system should be ready in about three years.