PHOENIX — Permanent berms could be a solution to the recurring blowing dust problems that have closed down a long stretch of Interstate 10 this spring.
An Arizona lawmaker believes those barriers would reduce the risk of swirling dust-caused accidents and road closures that keep happening along a 60-mile stretch near the Arizona-New Mexico border.
Dust has forced closures of on the freeway handful of times since late April.
There were accidents near San Simon, Arizona, including one in which an Arizona highway trooper vehicle was wrecked.
Back in 1977, Tucson Democrat Sen. Steve Farley said the U.S. Department of Agriculture was apparently able to reduce dust-related accidents by using bulldozers to pile berms near the freeway, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.
The berms were topped with native vegetation that has survived on natural water runoff from the highway.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced mid-May that it had chosen a Scottsdale company to apply a dust-suppression liquid to solve the problem.
Farley proposed such barriers as a simple, low-maintenance solution to the blowing dust storms that been limiting visibility on I-10 near the New Mexico border.
He said the plan can’t move forward until the state knows whether landowners in the area would support it, but he has had trouble identifying and contacting some of them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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