Black Ice Closes Hwy. 87 For 17 Hours After Holiday

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Highway 87 was closed for more than 17 hours over the holiday weekend due to ice and inclement weather conditions.

Several motorists skidded off the roadway after a winter storm dropped significant rainfall Saturday night between mileposts 199 and 222, said Arizona Department of Transportation public information officer Bill Pederson.

“Just after dark, the rain blew in and immediately froze,” Pederson said. “There was lots of weather all over the high country causing problems.”

The Department of Public Safety closed Highway 87 for northbound traffic at Bush Highway and at the junction of Highway 188 for southbound traffic, around 8:30 p.m. Dec. 26 and reopened it by 2 p.m. Dec. 27.

Pederson did not know if anyone was injured in any of the slides.

In Rye, a resident reported several freight train cars washed down Rye Creek during last week’s winter storms.

According to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, the freight cars are privately owned and washed into the creek after the ground they were on washed away with floodwaters. The cars’ owners were notified, but the sheriff’s department does not know when they will be removed from the creek.

The National Weather Service is forecasting sunny skies for the rest of the week, which should put an end to several weeks of road closures throughout the Rim Country.

The first chance of rain will be Saturday with a chance for snow at elevations above 5,900 feet.

For current road conditions, visit www.az511.com and weather forecasts www.wrh.noaa.gov.

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