The Washington State Department of Transportation is grappling with a recent uptick in wire thefts from its properties in Vancouver and beyond.
“We’ve seen an uptick in it in the last six months in the southwest region of Washington,” said Scott Langer, WSDOT traffic operations engineer.
Thieves recently stole wire from the lighting system along state Highway 500 between Thurston Way and Andresen Road and on the north side of state Highway 14, west of Southeast 164th Avenue, according to WSDOT.
“Our lighting and illumination system is there for a reason. Our bigger concern, above the cost, is the risk they’re putting the public at,” when thieves disrupt it, Langer said. “When our lights go out, it takes several weeks to repair it.”
WSDOT discovered the wire theft on Highway 500 on Dec. 30. They estimate the repair to cost around $4,000. Crews discovered the theft on state Highway 14 last month, but WSDOT doesn’t have an estimate on what the repairs might cost.