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Arizona agency to study climate change’s effects on roads

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Transportation is launching a yearlong study on the impact of climate change on the state’s freeways.

In Arizona, climate trends could include a growing number of unusually intense storm events. More severe dust storms, long term drought, flooding and mega wildfires could overwhelm the infrastructure.

The study will focus on Interstates 10, 17 and 19, and also, “We’re going to be looking at bridges, roadways and more,” said department spokeswoman Laura Douglas.

It could be years before major changes come to the state’s highways. The study is a starting point.

“This will be a combination of boots on the ground, studies, workshops and working with other agencies and stakeholders” Douglas said.

ADOT received $125,000 for the pilot program from the Federal Highway Administration. A total of 19 agencies nationwide are taking part in the study.