Metal Theft Possible Factor in Freeway Flooding

DETROIT (AP) -- The state says the theft of copper from pumping stations used to clear water from Detroit-area freeways may have been a contributing factor in this week's major highway flooding.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross says an investigation is ongoing to evaluate what went wrong Monday on area roadways.

The Detroit News and WDIV-TV report possible factors include pump houses not working properly because of metal thieves taking copper used in the pumping systems. Copper theft for sale as scrap is a longstanding area problem, with it being blamed in many streetlight outages.

The state says aging infrastructure and pumps that were overwhelmed by the rainfall also are factors.

A final determination isn't expected to be made until after the mud, trash, abandoned vehicles and other debris gets cleared.


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