Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

In the dark: Drivers concerned with ongoing issues with Crosstown lights

OKLAHOMA CITY -- If you have been traveling along the I-40 Crosstown, you may have noticed that your drive is a bit darker than other parts of the highway.

It's a problem News 4 has been following for more than four years.

In July of 2014, officials say the problems began when thieves ripped copper wiring out of the light poles along the Crosstown.

The issue was fixed in 2015, but then thieves struck again and the lights went out.

Since that time, many of the lights have stayed dark and drivers say it can lead to dangerous conditions.

"Not only do people follow too close, but there are motorcyclists on the road, and any slight movement or gesture without lighting is another cause of a wreck or death," said Dalton Smith.

Smith said he takes the stretch of the highway daily.

"Every morning, I have to work from Noble. I take 35, exit off on 40 and onto the interchange right there, and it seems pretty dark all the way up until 40," Smith said.

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation say that it is an "extremely expensive problem to fix."

"It is a money issue. We are not able to just go out and repair these lights as part of a regular maintenance project," Brenda Perry, with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, told News 4 in 2017.

Agency officials say the lights will get fixed, but not until the construction of the Oklahoma City Boulevard is complete.

"The department is committed to resolving this as quickly as it can and we expect this portion of the project to complete this year," ODOT said in a statement to KFOR.

Until then, Smith says he worries that this could lead to a dangerous situation for drivers.

"Not everybody is the best of drivers, so I just make sure I watch me and my vehicle and hopefully everybody else plays out the same way," said Smith.

Once the lights are repaired, they will be deeded to the City of Oklahoma City, and the city will be responsible for all future maintenance of the street lights. In general, municipalities maintain street lights and traffic signals within their city limits.

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