DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Scrap metal thieves are adding to the delays in getting water cleared from flooded roads.
Officials say copper piping stolen from pumping stations used to clear water from the freeways might have been a contributing factor in this week’s major highway flooding.
Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross said the copper piping had been stolen from several pumping stations — but MDOT didn’t know about the thefts until going in to pump the water after Monday’s torrential storms.
Cross said it could be several days before all freeways are reopened.
“It really is an extremely rare situation, but we’re working the best we can to get the roads open,” she said.
Copper theft for sale as scrap is a longstanding area problem, with it being blamed for many streetlight outages.
The state says aging infrastructure and pumps that were overwhelmed by the rainfall are also major factors in the flooding. A final determination isn’t expected to be made until after the mud, trash, abandoned vehicles and other debris gets cleared.
TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.