PHOENIX — Coming up with a solution to blowing dust on a major freeway has become an expensive task for Arizona.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that taxpayers have forked over nearly $600,000 to minimize blowing dust that created hazardous driving conditions and forced the shutdown stretches of Interstate 10 in far southeastern Arizona.
The owner of that land, David Turner, a Scottsdale businessman, told the newspaper he wasn’t going to pay back the state because he had been working on a fix of his own.
A 62-mile stretch of I-10 between Arizona and New Mexico was closed several times in May because of the dust blowing off Turner’s 640 acres. So much dirt in the air made visibility poor and there were multiple wrecks, none of them deadly.
The Arizona Department of Transportation said it began watering down the dirt after talks with Turner, who lives in Atlanta.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality then moved on to Gorilla-Snot, a biodegradable chemical stabilizer.
The department hasn’t fined or cited Turner over the unsafe conditions, and it may not have the power to do that if it tried.
Arizona Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) wants to see a permanent solution and pointed to a similar problem in the 1970s near Picacho Peak south of Phoenix. That issue was resolved by constructing berms topped with vegetation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.