ODOT Works To Illuminate Metro Thoroughfare After Thefts
OKLAHOMA CITY - Copper thieves are responsible for the lack of light along a major metro thoroughfare.
The new Interstate 40 Crosstown was built in 2012 and for the most part has been left in the dark.
It's one of many lights extending this run of the interstate that's been targeted by thieves over and over again.
"It renders the whole area dark," state transportation department spokeswoman Brenda Perry said. "We've repaired this area before and are in a situation where we need to repair again."
Just as quickly as ODOT can get the lights back on, it doesn't take long before, yet again, another blackout.
The lights first went up in January 2012, but didn't last long.
By fall 2013, drivers were left in the dark. Thieves had stripped the lights of its copper wiring.
For a hefty price tag, in 2014 the state made the needed repairs, only to be vandalized four months later.
Then in 2015, they were fixed again -- this time only staying on for two months.
ODOT plans to start repairs in 2018, but since the project was awarded with two others, it will be about a year and half before they're back on.
"We have been hearing from people how concerned how dark it is," Perry said. "They're having trouble reading the exit signs because of the reflectivity on that."
Perry said each time the lights are vandalized, it's a matter of when and if funding is available to get them back on. They've been repaired twice at a combined price tag of $300,000, and this time the repair costs will jump to $500,000.
However, ODOT said this time around, locking mechanisms will be installed and the wires will be made from aluminum instead of copper.