Reflectors will aid drivers on unlit roads
Reflectors will replace freeway lights that have gone dark because of copper thieves.
Copper thieves continue to elude the law, making off with wiring from light poles and leaving drivers on segments of Oahu's high-traffic freeways in the dark.
With the likelihood that replacing the wires would simply deliver another supply of copper to the crooks, the state Transportation Department decided to forgo the expensive repairs. However, since thousands of motorists steer the darkened portions of the H-1 and H-2 daily, the department says it will install reflectors and restripe lanes to guide cars through.
Though not as illuminating, reflectors should help drivers and increase safety until officials find a theft-resistant solution. Meanwhile, police should step up patrols of vulnerable areas and the public should report suspicious activity.
Despite new laws to curb illegal sales to scrap metal recycling shops, the value of copper apparently is enough for larcenists to rip out rain gutters, flashing and other fixtures as well as wiring for roadway lights.
Last week, four miles of the H-2 went dark when thieves stole wiring from 15 poles. Officials estimate that it would cost about $96,000 to replace the wiring. Wire also has been taken from fixtures along the H-1 between Kunia and Makakilo and, since 2006, other sections of the freeway have remained unlit while frustrated officials have tried to figure out how to prevent the thefts.
Until they have an answer, the plan for reflectors will have to do and motorists will have to maneuver carefully through the shadows.
Oahu Publications, Inc. publishes
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, MidWeek
and military newspapers
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Black, Dan Case, Dennis Francis,
Larry Johnson, Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke,
Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, Michael Wo
Editorial Page Editor
(808) 529-4748; email@example.com
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (USPS 249460) is published daily by Oahu Publications at 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii. Postmaster: Send address changes to Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.