‘Significant amount of wire theft’ shuts down Seattle I-5 express lane ramp

Feb 1, 2022, 11:12 AM
Wire and metal theft...
Wires stolen out of a box near the 9th and Pike express lane ramp. (WSDOT)

The Washington State Department of Transportation was forced to shut down the I-5 express lane ramp at 9th Avenue and Pike Street on Tuesday, citing “a significant amount of wire theft.”

Could be 3 weeks before Magnolia internet is restored after vandals undo repairs

Photos posted by WSDOT to Twitter show fuse boxes that appear to have been forced open, with several wires pulled out. Because of that, electronic gates and signage for the 9th and Pike express ramp do not have power and cannot be operated.

The ramp closure is expected to continue “until further notice,” while the I-5 express lanes will otherwise “operate as normal with this exception.”

This marks the latest high-profile instance of wire theft in Seattle. In late January, vandals cut through a wooden box running under the Magnolia Bridge that holds fiber-optic cables, stealing cables and copper wiring. The box was then vandalized for a second time shortly after initial repairs were made.

That’s had some in the Magnolia area without phone or internet service for over a week now, with repairs still ongoing. CenturyLink estimates that it was able to restore service to roughly 550 out of 1,300 affected customers in the neighborhood late last week, and has crews “working around the clock” to finish repairs for the remaining homes and businesses. It estimates that it will complete that work “in less than 2 weeks.”

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‘Significant amount of wire theft’ shuts down Seattle I-5 express lane ramp