PHOENIX — The state Transportation Board has approved a $3.7 million project to construct a thermal detection system on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17 that will detect wrong-way vehicles on the Phoenix freeway.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told the Arizona Department of Transportation last week to accelerate construction of the system after recent wrong-way crashes.

Construction of the thermal camera pilot system is expected to begin this fall on I-17 from Interstate 10 to Loop 101 with full installation taking seven months.

Further expansion depends on how well the pilot system works.

The system will issue warning signs for wrong-way drivers and advisories for right-way drivers along the I-17 stretch.

On freeway ramps, wrong-way vehicles will trigger alerts including illuminated signs with flashing lights aimed at getting drivers to stop.

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