Fixing Tulsa Highway Lights Damaged By Copper Thieves Nears Comp - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |


Fixing Tulsa Highway Lights Damaged By Copper Thieves Nears Completion

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Crews continue to repair highway lights that were damaged by people stealing the copper inside of them, but although they are getting close, more work still needs to be done.

Officials say about 34 miles of copper has been stolen from highway lights citywide.

To put things in perspective, that’s the distance from Tulsa to Sequoyah.

The city of Tulsa is fighting back.

Lauren Wilson drives on the highways in and around Tulsa. She says she's noticed some highway lights that have been out, especially on the B.A. Expressway.

"Would you rather take the main roads and get there a little later or take the highways and maybe not get there at all?” she asked.  

Over the last two years, the City of Tulsa has noticed it too. They say people have been stealing copper wire that carries electricity to the lights. But, workers have been making improvements and significant strides.

"That's why now we're going back with aluminum wire we've been putting locking doors on the light poles,” said Director of Streets and Stormwater Terry Ball.

Ball says, so far, about 85 percent of the damaged lights have been repaired. And this weekend, work will continue to fix highway lighting along the Broken Arrow Expressway as well as other parts of highways.

“Just trying to go repair all that and too just knowing how much money has been spent, that could've been spent on a lot of other things,” he said.

He also says that aluminum wire is about a third of the price of copper. He says crews are also placing stickers on light poles letting them know, they now only use aluminum.

"Leave it alone; find something else to do, because it’s really not worth risking your life,” said Ball.

And as the city is moving into phase two of the project, drivers say their they are thankful.  

"Our highways are great, the way they intersect,” said Wilson. “You can pretty much get anywhere in town in ten minutes.”

Ball says they hope to have everything completed by the end of 2018.

The final expense for all of this is a little less than $10 million.

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