Below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation:
Central Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons, along with Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) staff, joined city and state officials to discuss the ongoing copper theft and litter issues in the Jackson-metro area on Thursday, August 4.
“MDOT invests a lot of money into lighting our highway system. Someone is going to our light poles and snatching the copper out. This kills the lighting system and creates darkness on our interstates,” said Simmons. “We’re bringing in the stakeholders today and hoping we’ll be able to come together with some ideas on how to prevent this from occurring.”
Simmons was joined by MDOT Executive Director Brad White, Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Sean Tindell, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and President of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors Credell Calhoun.
“It is critically important from a safety standpoint to make sure that our interstates are well lit, particularly in the metro area,” said Tindell. “We want to get those lights back up and then work with our state and local partners, and law enforcement, to make sure they stay on.”
For several years, MDOT has dealt with theft of copper electrical wire from high-mast and other interstate lighting systems in the Jackson area. These thefts have resulted in the interstate lights not working, leaving Jackson interstates dark at night, presenting safety challenges for motorists. It is also an unnecessary expense to the tax-payers and a dangerous practice for thieves.
“I found that not only the commissioner and staff here and very concerned about this issue, and I was grateful to see representation from both the county and state. I look forward to the fruits of our conversation,” said Lumumba.
The public is urged to contact local law enforcement if they see this type of criminal activity. Thefts of copper wire have cost MDOT nearly $800,000 to replace and repair in recent years.