SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Motorists are quick to blame solo drivers, out-of-sync traffic lights and an improving economy for San Francisco Bay area traffic gridlock.
But copper thieves are a hidden culprit in the commuting mess.
They tear out copper wiring powering metering lights, traffic signals and freeway electronic signs.
The San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/U5kUgk) says 59 meters have been vandalized in the bay area in the past year.
The California Department of Transportation has replaced wiring for 18 of those meters at a typical cost of $35,000 each.
And it can take up to four months to make repairs.
Copper can fetch up to $4 a pound at recycling facilities.
Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com
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