NDOT hires private security to patrol copper wire theft hotspots as thefts still impact many commuters
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Back in April FOX5 first reported on some dark highway lights on the 95 around Charleston Boulevard and Boulder Highway. After alerting NDOT of the situation, NDOT determined the cause was a copper wire theft. In April officials said it would take about a week to get the lights working again. But around seven months later the lights are still dark.
NDOT officials say damage from the copper wire theft was worse than expected, and now FOX5 has learned the lights won’t be repaired for several more months. It is all because of the massive project to widen I-515 around the Charleston curve.
“So what we’ve done is we’ve rolled the new infrastructure into that project. So, they’re able to get the lights done on the on and off ramps, because those won’t be affected by the project, and then the rest of the lights are going to be rolled into this I-515 project. So those will be coming over the next months to a year,” said NDOT Public Information Officer Justin Hopkins.
Hopkins calls that effort a more permanent solution as opposed to a band-aid fix. And he says the lights will be upgraded to LED lighting which is more energy efficient.
While that construction effort will keep many drivers in darker conditions for several more months, NDOT is also announcing an effort to help cut down on thefts in the first place. Hopkins says a security company has been hired to monitor copper wire theft hot spots.
“The goal of our security patrols is to spot suspicious activity and then call in either the Nevada State Police or Metro,” said Hopkins.
He added, “We can hopefully either catch people in the act or spot vandalism immediately after it’s occurred so we can get to the problem faster,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins says the teams will patrol 24 hours a day. He says about half the team is up and running and has been working for a few weeks now.
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