Out of Order Streetlights Cause Safety Concern - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/2/04

Out of Order Streetlights Cause Safety Concern

Dozens of Lubbock's streetlight are not in working order. This raises a concern for public safety near parking lots and sidewalks and of course our roadways.

With over 14,000 street lights in the city it's constant battle for Lubbock Power & Light to keep them all running. Dozens of them aren't working right now because wires have been cut either at construction sites or when homeowners install new sprinklers or fences. Dale Stephens of LP & L says, "They'll (homeowners) nick a streetlight wire and they'll cover it up and later on the wire will oxidize and eventually burn in two and the lights out."

Fixing that light is not a quick task for LP&L and in the time it takes to repair that light. Stephens says the city's crew of just six streetlight workers could replace several burnt out bulbs. "It really doesn't take highest priority because you know it's going to be a day or two to get that fixed anyway."

Then there's the matter of construction. Streetlight wires are just a small part of a massive underground network of wires in the city. All public utilities will come out to mark their wires off if called by construction workers, but it's not a fool proof plan. Wayne Blaylock works for Artex Electric and is a subcontractor for Granite Construction Company. He says, "Sometimes they'll say OK we have a streetlight here but the contractor that's excavating they won't call for a locate and maybe if they called for a locate, by the time they get to work, the markers are all gone."

Blaylock says if his crew is unsure, they'll call for a remark, but it's virtually impossible to keep a perfect record. He says "We've cut them and sometimes you cut a line and if there's electricity when we cut a line we repair it."

Again, a lot of the cut street light problems happen in places just like this residential area. LP&L wants to remind you that anytime you dig in your front or backyard you should call them first. They will help you out free of charge. The number to call is 1-800-DIG-TESS .

If you do cut a line don't hesitate to call them immediately. They'll be happy to help you because the problem is easier to fix at that point, than further down the line.

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