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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction

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Crews have fixed 80 lights on I-77 north of downtown, and 15 of them are out again because thieves have already stolen the new copper wiring! This is really frustrating because we all want our interstates lit up at night and have waited a long time for it to finally get fixed. Has anyone heard of this same thing happening in other cities? It just seems really odd. :(

Edited by nyxmike

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The solution? Have a sniper sit out there with a gun and shoot anyone who steals the copper through the head.

Yeah, I know, that sounds like a response from one of the TV station forums, but for the love of god. DOT spends $$millions to fix the lights... and thieves steal the copper for a couple thousand bucks, undoing the $$millions of work.

This is just extremely frustrating.

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The solution? Have a sniper sit out there with a gun and shoot anyone who steals the copper through the head.

I couldn't agree more! I remember there being an issue about copper theft at one point in the past, I'm talking 15-20 years ago, but I didn't realize it was still an issue. Can they not lock the panels on the base of the light posts well enough to make them basically impenetrable?

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Yeah the value of copper has skyrocketed in the past few years, so copper theft is a huge problem because thieves can get more money to buy drugs. Its also why pennies are worth more than their own value- not enough to make it worth the cost of melting them, but its still a fun fact, and another reason to get rid of the penny.

spot-copper-5y.gif

Is there not some other conductive material than copper that they could use?

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Copper theft has skyrocketed. A friend of mine working in Atlanta had the copper stolen right out of their office's rooftop HVAC system last week.

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Is there not some other conductive material than copper that they could use?

There is, but either the alternatives cost even more money with successful results, or they just aren't as efficient and of quality to correctly transmit a current. It's a balancing game like most things, cost vs. efficiency. Copper, historically, has been proven to have the happy median.

And yes- copper theft has been a recent problem, and there have been other applications where copper has been taken out of devices and systems to get their hands on this material.

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.....

Is there not some other conductive material than copper that they could use?

Gold and Platinum are better conductors but obviously they won't be using these materials for this purpose.

The other option is aluminum. Aluminum is not quite as efficient as copper in terms of conductivity but is used quite often to conduct power and for street lights it should be fine as long as it is installed correctly. I am surprised they are not using it already.

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I'm surprised this hasn't been on CrimeTime TV like WSOC Channel 9 News.

I'd think that with the amount of traffic on 77 that someone would have seen something suspicious and reported it.

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I'm surprised this hasn't been on CrimeTime TV like WSOC Channel 9 News.

I'd think that with the amount of traffic on 77 that someone would have seen something suspicious and reported it.

There was an article in the O or MSNBC about a year ago or so. That's where I first heard about it. The reasoning was determined for drug money. I really don't know why the bases of the light sources aren't locked, I guess this just wasn't expected. Now more money is going to have to be invested to again fix these, and possibly invest into theft devicing.

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Does the state 'insure themselves' for this, or do they have real insurance for these types of thefts. Should they start if they don't?

Now that the dollar is worth less and less and copper is worth more and more, I'm just curious when the penny will start being made from aluminum or zinc like other some other countries with crap currency have for their lowest denomation coin. I'm shocked there isn't a big business to melt down pennies for the metal. Its illegal, but, um, so is ripping wires out of vacant houses and freeway medians.

If this will keep happening, they really need to use different wire types or just accept the freaking solar lights.

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I'm just curious when the penny will start being made from aluminum or zinc like other some other countries

We're already there. Pennies have been made from copper plated zinc for 20 years or so.

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Well, the good news is that they are installing tamperproof panels along the light bases. Also, the DOT is telling people to keep a watchful eye out on the highways at night.

Edited by nyxmike

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I read an interesting article online today @ Charleston.net. Downtown Charleston is constantly abuzz with heavy pedestrian trafffic. Trying to cross Calhoun and St Philips during class breaks at The College of Charleston is akin to swimming in a of sea people. The hospital district closer to the connector to James Island had similar concerns with their employees crossing. So they now provide bright orange flags for them to carry back and forth and then deposit in a holding container for the next person. I think this is a novel idea and is apparently in use in a few other cities. No flags have been stolen.

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Charleston is a good location to test these new pedestrian tools. It will be interesting to see how they work out.

In other news I came across this link. Ya'll will find it quite interesting. Its about a 2 minute video.

Save the Traffic

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I expect that its going to be on multiple days, and I sincerely hope that one or two of the other days will have better weather than the first 2/3 of today.

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I expect that its going to be on multiple days, and I sincerely hope that one or two of the other days will have better weather than the first 2/3 of today.

They do 3 days of monitoring, a few hours during lunch, and a few hours during evening commute times. They are monitoring the main traffic areas such as Trade/Tryon, Gateway Village, and Overstreet Mall.

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Yes, I hope we do have better weather the rest of the study. We will be out Thursday & Saturday of this week and then be out the week of April 15th on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday along North and South Tryon. The count went great yesterday, especially in the afternoon. We will have an abbreviated version of our findings complete in May with a full report in the summer for anyone who is interested. This is the first time we are doing this type of study so wish us luck.

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According to an article in the Observer, new overhead digital signs are going to be installed in a couple of locations on Charlotte interstates:

"In addition, large message signs will be installed on I-485 near South Boulevard, and on I-277 near Clarkson Street. The TV cameras will enable state officials to monitor traffic and alert motorists to any problems. The message signs also carry traffic information for motorists."

http://www.charlotte.com/breaking_news/story/564623.html

Am I the only one that fumes when I hear that the state is spending money on these things? I have yet to see one of these signs say anything useful for motorists other than amber alerts. Not once have I ever seen them carry "traffic information for motorists" like I have in other states such as Florida. An example can be found on Outer 485 around the Rock River Rd interchange. A mobile digital sign is placed mere yards from the lage digital sign over I-485 to warn motorists of traffic due to races at LMS. Why bother even installing these expensive signs if the state isn't going to use them?

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I rarely even see the Amber Alerts. All I ever see is "NC DOT Sign Test" and the once every 6 months that I do see some sort of traffic update, it is hours or even days old and irrelevent. I think they are helpful but only if they use them, which is seemingly never.

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I agree with you, Neo! Those signs seem like such a waste.

In Europe, they had message signs above each freeway lane and when you were going over the limit, it would flash you the speed limit as you went by. Those seemed infinitely more useful and might help prevent accidents instead of just telling you there is one 20 miles away.

The group think at NCDOT is astounding.

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Even Atlanta has fairly useful digital signs that let you know in advance if you are approaching an accident site. Nashville uses them to give you an ETA for arrival at the next major exit. That's useful. "Test" messages aren't.

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I think if they just did a few simple things like putting msgs on them such as "Welcome to Charlotte", "Have a nice day", maybe a quick factoid, etc., and/or time and temp when they are not being used for alerts, their utility to people would be much greater.

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