Illuminate Dark and Dangerous Highways

Target: Rob Morosi, Michigan Department of Transportation representative

Goal: Repair streetlights in Downtown Detroit, to safely light freeways that are currently dark and dangerous.

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), about one-fifth of the streetlights that illuminate major freeways in Detroit are no longer working. MDOT says copper thieves are primarily to blame. People desperate for money are stripping essential copper cables from the transformer cabinets, often located on freeway service drives, to sell the precious metal for money. Demand that MDOT replace the cables that have been stolen, in order to safely light the freeways at night in a city already full of crime, and put more sophisticated locking systems on the transformer cabinets to protect against future theft.

Rob Morosi of MDOT reported that about 20% of all light poles in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties, all a part of the expansive metro Detroit area, are in the dark. “We are responsible for about 5,500 light poles… Right now we’re estimating 1,100 outages to those poles for a number of reasons.”

Theft is the main reason sources cite for the lack of light. One man actually died from electrocution while trying to steal copper wire from an active pole. The community has been informed about the robberies, and has made a difference in reporting suspicious activity around town to prevent more thefts.

The bigger problem, perhaps, is a lack of funding to replace countless other poles that are in disrepair, many of which have been torn down without being replaced in order to protect motorists from the potential hazard. Aside from the poles that are out on the freeway, about half of Detroit’s 88,000 street lamps are in disrepair due to age, weather, and lack of the necessary funding to replace them.

It is incredibly dangerous to travel on the freeway at night without street lamps to illuminate potential hazards in the road, let alone in such a crime-laden city. A crime-filled city left in the dark every night is a recipe for disaster, and an invitation for even more crime to occur. Demand that the city do what needs to be done in order to replace the broken street lamps throughout the city, taking the first step to fix this city that is falling apart, and shedding light on the other problems that need to be addressed in Detroit.


Dear Rob Morosi,

It is no secret that the lack of working street lamps on freeways throughout Metro Detroit is a big problem that is receiving national attention. Detroit is already struggling against crime, and being left in the dark every night is just an invitation for more crime to occur. People cannot feel safe in this area after sunset without proper street lamps to illuminate their surroundings. Though crime is the source of this problem, to an extent, it is the responsibility of MDOT to fix the broken lights and to better secure the transformer cabinets to prevent future theft.

With one-fifth of the street lights throughout the metro area not working, and half of the street lights in downtown Detroit being out as well, this is a serious problem that is only getting worse. Many of the street lights are out due to normal wear-and-tear in a city that receives harsh winter weather and is highly trafficked, causing accidents that affect the poles. This should be budgeted for and fixed immediately in order to keep citizens safe.

Though the city has numerous problems to address, resident safety should be at the top of the list needing immediate attention and resources. Please illuminate the city of Detroit immediately in order to make citizens safe.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Sheffield via Flickr

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