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DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) – If you’ve traveled along I-45 north or southbound, near downtown Dallas, you know it’s a bustling stretch of road in the daytime… and an almost blinding stretch, in places, at night.
The I-team received a complaint from a viewer who contacted us saying dozens of lights have been out for at least a year. He was concerned about the safety of drivers. The I-team hit the highway around 10 o’clock on a weekend night, long after the lights should have been shining.
We counted 106 overhead street lights out in less than five miles. In our video, you can see just how difficult it is to see the light poles in the dark.
The I-team immediately reached out to the city of Dallas to find out who is responsible for maintaining these lights. In an email response, a city spokesperson told us, “Oncor maintains them and the city pays for the maintenance.” She also acknowledged the problem, saying, “There are currently multiple lights out on that stretch. Oncor will be working on them for the next four weeks.”
“I don’t want to kill nobody,” says Tyson Fite. Fite is a truck driver who has traveled along I-45 for the last two years.
“It’s very unsafe. You drive an 18-wheeler truck, 80,000 pounds and you can’t see… that’s a hazard waiting to happen.”
Fite is spending a lot of time along this stretch because he is working on a project underneath the interstate.
“They are doing a $20 million project up under I-45. Surely they can put some millions of dollars on those street lights right now,” Fite told the I-Team.
The I-team obtained records of motor vehicle traffic crashes along this stretch. The number of fatal crashes has risen in the last year. In 20 of those accident reports, drivers noted: it’s “dark, no lighting.”
An accident in July involved a Dallas police officer. CBS 11 was there shortly after a police cruiser crashed into the back of Jerry Agnew’s stranded car. His 4-month old was in the back seat. In our video, you can see the light directly above the accident is out.
“If I wouldn’t have pulled my partner out of the way, he wouldn’t even be here,” Agnew told the I-Team in July while still on the scene.
When we reached out to the city, a spokesperson told us the work order to repair these lights was turned in. Commuters in this area say that has taken too long.
“I’ve noticed it for months,” said Keith Lowe. Lowe lives in Oak Cliff and travels I-45 almost every day. When asked, what advice he would give to the city of Dallas, if given the chance, Lowe said, “Fix the lights before somebody dies.”
The owner of a towing company nearby told the I-Team that businesses, workers, and motorists have all been in the dark for at least a year.
A spokesperson with the city of Dallas says the lights have been out because of some damaged circuits.
Most of them were repaired last week. Oncor tells us the remaining ones will be fixed next Saturday, September 19, when crews plan to block off the highway to turn them back on.
If you are aware of a light that is out, you should report it.
You can contact Oncor at http://www.oncor.com/en/pages/report-streetlight-issues.aspx.
You can reach the Texas Department of Transportation at http://www.txdot.gov/contact-us/form.html.
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