ATLANTA — A safety hazard is getting fixed after a Channel 2 Action News investigation. We found a lot of streetlights out along the expressway in the south metro.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Sophia Choi found out why it’s happening and who is responsible.
The Georgia Department of Transportation put the lights in, but it turns out that typically GDOT is not responsible for keeping them on.
“Henry is just known to be dark,” said Joshua Eckhoff, who lives in Henry County.
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He reached out to Channel 2 Action News after recording video of his dark drive down Interstate 75 in Henry County.
“With there not being many raised pavement markers or lines to begin with on the highway, lighting is essential,” Eckhoff said.
He tried to get the lights back on but kept getting the runaround until Channel 2 Action News started investigating in March.
We found a lot of the lights are out along I-75 in Henry County near the I-675 split, on I-75 in Clayton County and near the Porsche Center in Atlanta.
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The darkness is creating long stretches where it is hard to see.
Some of the lights actually work, they’re just timed wrong.
“The lights are on during the day, off at night,” Eckhoff said.
We learned GDOT installed many of the lights in 2017 when building the South Metro Express Lanes. Now some just need a new bulb. But others lost power.
“So, wire theft, vandalism and then just general lights not working anymore because they’re about six years old,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale told Choi.
GDOT said it spent close to two years trying to figure out one question.
“Who will be the owner of these lights? Who will be the maintenance?” Dale said.
Typically, local counties and cities take on the role and the expense.
But in the case of these Express Lanes…
“DOT is taking ownership of maintenance of the lighting system and maintenance and repairs,” Dale said.
Both GDOT and the City of Atlanta are working on a new contract with Georgia Power.
The utility told Channel 2Action News that it’s working to make the fixes:
“Georgia Power – acting as maintenance contractor – has been in touch with the Georgia Department of Transportation, City of Atlanta and others regarding the lighting outages along I-75 S, the South Managed Lanes (SML), in Clayton and Henry Counties.
“We identified numerous problems with the lighting system and when the necessary repairs were approved, began work in March. Repairs have been completed to several damaged conduits, conductor (wire) and we have reinstalled missing conductor. Some lights operating during the day are now only on at night, as designed. The company also identified several missing or broken light poles and fixtures. Material has been ordered and will be installed upon arrival.
“Additionally, for interstate lighting along I-75 in Clayton County near I-285, Georgia Power is working with Clayton County Transportation to repair these systems. Work began in October 2022 repairing damaged conduits, installing new conductor, foundations, poles and lights. Only a handful of outages remain. To date, our crews have repaired over 100 lights in this area and expect repairs to be completed on the remaining lights in the coming weeks.”
“My goal with the lights was to see them all working functionally,” Eckhoff said.
Channel 2 Action News drove down I-75 in early June and found a noticeable improvement with more lights on.
“By this summer, all the lights should be on so the light at the end of the tunnel, I can almost see it,” Eckhoff said.
If you see lights out and want to report it to Georgia Power, you can do that online.
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