Grants to Boost Work Zones' and Motorists' Safety, Arizona DOT Says
The agency said one grant assists a work zone notification system that will use emerging vehicle communication technologies to alert commercial drivers that they are approaching construction or incidents on freeways and about variable speed limits, traffic congestion, and lane closures.
Pilot projects that will use technology to make highway work zones safer and commercial vehicle inspections at the border more efficient will begin early next year because of federal grants that have recently been awarded to the Arizona Department of Transportation. They are Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks grants totaling $581,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ADOT announced Nov. 28.
"These projects will make our work zones safer and improve how efficiently we inspect trucks that bring billions of dollars in commercial goods into our state," ADOT Director John Halikowski said. "It's another way ADOT is making our highways Key Commerce Corridors that improve the quality of life in Arizona by moving products and people."
The agency said one grant assists a work zone notification system that will use emerging vehicle communication technologies to alert commercial drivers that they are approaching construction or incidents on freeways and about variable speed limits, traffic congestion, and lane closures. This is a $337,000 joint project involving ADOT, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, and the University of Arizona, with one work zone on a highway managed by ADOT and another on Maricopa County 85, which runs from the Agua Fria River in Avondale to State Route 85 near Buckeye, with pilot demonstrations in place by August 2018.
The other project will connect separate technologies used by state and federal inspectors at the Mariposa Border Port of Entry in Nogales to allow officers with ADOT's Enforcement and Compliance Division to make more-informed decisions about which commercial trucks to pull over for expanded inspections. Mariposa is Arizona's busiest commercial port and processes most of the $30 billion in imports and exports that cross the Arizona-Mexico international border.
ADOT's news release said its screenings and those by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officers "are based primarily on visual inspections of trucks and documents presented to officers in Rapid Enforcement Lanes. The two agencies have separate computer systems with different information about trucks crossing the border. Some trucks cross several times in the same day."
This is a $224,000 project expected to be completed by summer 2018 that will build an interface allowing state and federal inspectors to share safety and credential information about trucks crossing into Arizona from Mexico: "That will allow inspectors from both agencies to make inspection decisions based on more complete information on each truck, trailer, cargo and driver. The shared information will be available by computer before a truck reaches the inspection booth. Combined with the truck’s weight and historical information from earlier border crossings, ADOT officers can make decisions quickly on whether to pull trucks aside for a closer look or allow them to continue north."