Tulsa Works To Finish Repairs On Street Lights Damaged By Copper Thieves
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Broken Arrow Expressway will once again have street lights soon.
A city contractor is making repairs after copper thieves ravaged the light poles.em
The lights on the westbound side will be done before Christmas and the eastbound lanes might be right after.
The damage is so complete, the work starts with fishing a piece of string between poles so workers have something they can use to pull new wire to the lights.
Years after copper thieves first started disabling Tulsa's highway lights, one of the longest dark stretches left is undergoing repairs.
The Broken Arrow Expressway is part of the last 10 miles of repairs, a job that will finish in late 2018.
It's taken so long because the city had to save up money for the work and come up with a plan to prevent it from happening again.
"That's why we're going back with aluminum wire and putting locking doors on the light poles," said Terry Ball with the City of Tulsa.
The old poles had easy to open access doors with copper wire just inside.
Thieves were willing to risk it to pull out copper they could sell for scrap metal.
Now the city uses aluminum wire that has less value as scrap and once the wire is replaced, it's behind a locked panel.
"Leave it alone, find something to do, it's not worth risking your life for a few dollars," said Ball.
The repairs on the BA will take three weekends, lasting through the first weeks of January.
Citywide, the repairs are now 85% complete.
The work in the BA is the focus now, and the IDL is next.
The repairs will cost $10 million and that's without any new vandalism to Tulsa's highway lights.
But that happens even with aluminum wiring, because some thieves cut into it, to check and see.