HOLBROOK, Ariz. - A combination of high winds and blowing dust have prompted the closure of Interstate 40 (I-40) east of Flagstaff in both directions today (Saturday). The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) closed the highway from milepost 230 to milepost 252 due to near-zero visibility.
The National Weather Service stated that winds should subside by early evening to allow officials to reopen the road.
The westbound closure is at milepost 252 in Winslow, where traffic is being directed off of the freeway and into the city. The eastbound closure is at the Two Guns Interchange (milepost 230) to Winslow, a distance of about 35 miles. Traffic is being turned around at that location. Drivers should expect long delays and take alternative routes where possible.
Closures of I-40 can often last hours due to the nature of the storms. In the past, similar conditions have been strong enough to cause high-profile vehicles to be blown over. Blowing dust has reduced visibility to near zero. With the ongoing storm, ADOT crews are closely monitoring conditions. Additional closures are possible through the weekend, according to information from the National Weather Service.
Drivers planning trips along I-40 today are urged to monitor travel conditions by calling 5-1-1 within Arizona, 1.888.411.ROAD outside the state, or via the Web at www.az511.gov. Because weather conditions can quickly evolve, drivers are encouraged to regularly check in with ADOT's Traveler Information Service and delay or detour travel plans if necessary.
ADOT, along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, will continue to work as a public safety team to support Arizona's highways and drivers and will closely monitor conditions on I-40 while maintaining driver safety. I-40 is a critical national corridor for commercial traffic and there are few other alternatives across Northern Arizona.