LED lights to illuminate Tulsa highways left in the dark by copper theft
- ODOT and Tulsa are installing LED lights on I-244.
- Officials said they hope placement and materials in the new lights will deter copper thieves.
- Many lights along Tulsa highways are dark because of such thieves.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the city of Tulsa are installing new LED lights to illuminate the recently repaired areas of I-244 between Peoria and Memorial.
Local residents tell FOX23 they are concerned that thieves will target the new lights once they are up and running and construction and maintenance crews no longer have an eye on the area.
All highways around the Tulsa metro area have seen darkened lights for at least a year now because of rampant copper theft in the area.
Some thieves have even touched a live hot wire while the lights are on and risked injury to themselves just to access copper to turn around and sell for scrap metal.
Many of the new lights are in the middle of the highway, and if thieves want to tamper with the new lights on I-244, they will have to do so in the middle of traffic at risk of getting hit or getting caught in plain sight.
ODOT and the City of Tulsa did not reveal how the new lights are wired and other safety features protecting their newest project, but in the past, the city has said they are in the middle of transitioning over to aluminum wiring on street lights that has a very low value on the scrap metal market.
Drivers may notice an outside lane of I-244 closed and limited access to the shoulder because crews are installing and hooking up the new lights in the area.