City of Fresno begins million dollar light project

FRESNO, Calif.

The City of Fresno is about to begin a million dollar project to turn on local street lights.

The City of Fresno has hired a larger team of electricians who will start fixing hundreds bulbs on Monday morning. Their goal is to turn on most of the street lights in about six months.

Shari Petersen and her husband love being outdoors. But Shari usually only spends time exploring her neighborhood in the daylight.

"The street lights aren't working and it causes concern with my safety," Petersen said.

For years parts of Fresno has been left in the dark. The reason neighborhoods have been without street lights is because thieves ripped out wire that powered street lights.

"It's been a very bad problem because we were the victim of a lot of copper wire theft," Public Works Director Patrick Weimiller said.

Weimiller believes the city first started getting a handle on the problem by retrofitting the lights. Crews poured cement over the wire to make it tougher for thieves to steal. But workers are stretched thin, and many busted lights are still off.

"The problem is with our budget problems we have just fallen behind and they just haven't had the man power to keep up with everything else," said Steve Brandau, a City Council Member.

Brandau is thrilled about the million dollars in transportation funding which will now be allocated to repairing hundreds of the street lights. For the past four months Brandau spent Friday mornings trying to fix the problem himself. About 10 electricians will take over the task.

"I think it's fantastic, I am really pleased," Brandau said.

The City of Fresno says copper wire theft is still an ongoing problem, if you see anyone trying to rip out copper wire, you are asked to call police.

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