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Spaghetti Bowl light repairs delayed after thieves strike again

Thieves who won’t go away have significantly delayed the repair of light towers near downtown Las Vegas.

This month the sophisticated thieves used grinders, other power tools and spools to steal copper wires from some 20 freeway light towers near the Spaghetti Bowl.

“We had planned to have the lights fully operational again tonight in time for Thanksgiving,” Tony Illia, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation, said Tuesday. “However, thieves once again broke into the electrical pull boxes, further delaying repair plans. And although the heist was unsuccessful, the wire was still sufficiently damaged enough that it was deemed unusable.”

Only about 30 percent of the freeway lights are illuminated along the Spaghetti Bowl corridor. It may take another three to four weeks to complete the electrical repair work, Illia said.

The price of copper is $3.29 per pound, up 55 percent from $2.13 per pound five years ago.

“We are committed to Nevada motorists staying safe and connected, while undertaking the added theft deterrent measures,” Illia said. “Meanwhile, we advise motorist caution and attentiveness if traveling through the Spaghetti Bowl corridor at night.”

The estimated cost of repairs to the lighting was $70,000 for equipment and $70,000 for labor. Illia said a revised repair estimate was not yet available.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter.

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