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Arizona highways bureau posts bigger, redesigned signs to deter wrong-way drivers

PHOENIX — The state Department of Transportation is making changes to freeway signage warning drivers of wrong-way entries.

Seven people have died and 11 others hurt in the past six weeks in five crashes on Valley freeways.

ADOT began changing out warning signs Wednesday at six freeway interchanges to larger versions. The new signs were redesigned to hopefully catch the attention of a wrong-way driver before they get on the freeway.

The signs will be set 3 feet off the ground; previously they were up about 7 feet.

There will also be a 20-footlong arrow of red, reflective raised markers at the exit ramps pointing in the correct direction. It won’t be as noticeable to drivers going in the correct direction, but will be drivers going the wrong way, said department spokesman Doug Nintzel.

The locations are Interstate 17 at the Carefree Highway, Peoria Avenue and Thunderbird Road interchanges at Loop 101 and Interstate 10 at the Ray Road, Queen Creek Road and Wild Horse Pass Road interchanges.

ADOT and the Department of Public Safety will be tracking the results for the next several months to determine if more interchanges should receive the new measures.