TxDOT Wages War on Copper Thieves

Thieves have stolen 37 miles of copper wiring from highway light poles in the Fort Worth area

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Fort Worth District working to prevent copper thefts after thieves have stolen more than 37 miles of wiring in recent years.

TxDOT officials said the theft of about 200,000 linear feet of wiring from light poles has knocked out power to highway lights in heavily-traveled areas.

“It’s a safety issue,” TxDOT's Michael Peters said. “As soon as we replace it, weeks later it is stripped out again.”

In 2016, TxDOT spent millions of dollars on new secret security measures to protect the poles from thieves. Officials said they will not discuss the specific security measures in place on the poles, so as to not tip off the thieves.

“We’ve decided to put our efforts towards securing the system first,” Peters said. “We believe this is the best use of the taxpayers’ resources.”

The agency has already relit and secured all of the light poles along Texas 121 outside of downtown Fort Worth between Haltom Road and Loop 820 near Northeast Mall in Hurst. Similar work is currently underway in southeast Fort Worth, near the Interstate 20 and Southeast Loop 820 split.

Contracts for similar repairs will go to bid in the fall for work in areas of both north and east of downtown.

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