• Audit: Nearly half of Atlanta's interstate lights are in the dark

    By: Dave Huddleston


    ATLANTA - According to a newly released audit by the Department of Public Safety, almost half of Atlanta's interstate lights don't work.

    Channel 2's Dave Huddleston learned 45 percent of the lights are broken.

    Public works commissioner Richard Mendoza told Huddleston they didn't have the staff or the money to repair the 4,000 lights along the interstate.

    Mendoza said he's confident they can fix the problem now that resources may be available.

    "It's not ideal and it's one I feel confident that knows the time to reinvest in the lighting," he said.

    Mendoza said the audit revealed many of Atlanta's interstate lights are not working because the bulbs are burned out, they are broken or there's not enough staff to fix them.

    Mendoza said in 2009 the city cut services to save money.

    "We discontinued our contract with Georgia Power to maintain the highway lights and when we did that, we also had layoffs of personnel," Mendoza said.

    Mendoza showed Huddleston a copy of the audit which said the areas of major focus included highway onramps and offramps and high traffic areas like the Downtown Connector.

    He said the city has spent about $500,000 in 18 months to repair the lights but there's still a lot of work to do.

    The commissioner said he feels optimistic that he can fix the lights, but he still has to go before the City Council to ask for more money to fix them.

    Mendoza said he'll ask for an additional $500,000 to fix the lights.

    "We've invested around additional police officers and opening the rec centers for our youth, and now it's time to look at our transportation infrastructure and we're in a position now where we can do that," Mendoza said.

    Mendoza said they are currently working on the on and off ramps on the Downtown Connector and they should start working on interstates 20 and 75 northbound by 2014 if that money becomes available.

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