Thieves darken Tacoma Freeway

A two-mile stretch of State Route 16 is without street lights after yet another wire theft, a crime that is endangering drivers and costing the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last week, thieves pulled the ground wire that illuminated the freeway from Union Avenue to 19th Street. There is no funding in WSDOT’s maintenance budget to replace the stolen wire, meaning this section of roadway will remain dark until money becomes available to replace the wire. WSDOT is self-insured, so ultimately taxpayers pay the price for the theft.
Motorists who see suspicious activity along the roadside should contact the State Patrol by calling 1-866-976-WIRE or using the reporting form found at .
WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol seek the public’s assistance raising awareness of this type of crime. According to WSDOT and WSP, thieves go to great lengths to steal wire, even staging work zones to provide the opportunity, time and cover they need to rip out the wires. Motorists can help by reporting suspicious work zones to law enforcement.
A legitimate work zone includes signs alerting you that you are approaching a work zone; proper lighting; orange cones, barriers, signs, etc; workers/flaggers wearing orange, reflective vests, hard hats, goggles and gloves; vehicles with either exempt license plates and the WSDOT logo or clearly marked with contractor name.