The city of Tulsa's highway lighting system is getting an upgrade.
News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it is a rare thing to see a worker repairing lights over a Tulsa expressway. It's going to be more common for the next year.
Many drivers might assume Tulsa's expressway lights are turned off to save money, but that's no longer true. Mark Brown with the City of Tulsa: "The electricity to all of them is turned back on, but yes, we've had a lot of outages because we've lacked the proper maintenance on them, lack of personnel to do the work."
With money to pay the light bills no longer a concern, its overdue repairs keeping the lights off now. The problems range from a simple blown out bulb to more than a few cases of people stealing the wires inside them. "They just yank out the feeder line, it has a value, it's copper, we've replaced some with aluminum, but it has a recycling value and they know that."
The city has only two people to maintain lights for all the highways. They can't keep up, so a quarter million dollars was spent to hire outside crews to speed up repairs. The city maintains 400 lights along the expressways in Tulsa.
With so many of them out, it will take until the fall to get them all repaired. That won't happen for a long time and in the meantime there are still hundreds of lights that need work. The city - in a change from policy just a year ago - is working to keep the lights on now.