BLACK CANYON CITY, Ariz. (AP) — A wrong-way driver killed a motorcyclist and caused multiple crashes Tuesday on Interstate 17, closing a portion of the freeway near Black Canyon City and backing up holiday traffic.
Authorities arrested the wrong-way driver who caused the wrecks on southbound I-17 about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Phoenix, Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said.
Southbound traffic had been backed up for about 7 miles (11 kilometers) before those lanes reopened several hours later, state transportation officials said.
Drivers were being advised to expect long delays and use alternate routes if possible. The closure went into effect Tuesday afternoon as many families traveled back to the metro Phoenix area following holiday-weekend trips to northern Arizona.
Department of Public Safety officials said the crash is still under investigation, and no other information was released.
Wrong-way drivers have claimed at least seven lives on Arizona highways this year.
Metro Phoenix recently saw three wrong-way wrecks over the course of about two weeks, two involving fatalities.
In early June, state transportation officials announced a wrong-way detection pilot program that will be installed on I-17 in the fall. The program will use thermal camera technology to notify wrong-way drivers, surrounding drivers and law enforcement.
Gov. Doug Ducey last month urged state agencies to increase enforcement and awareness of the problem. He also ordered the Department of Public Safety to accelerate and broaden the pilot program.
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