Vandals damage variable speed signs along I-80
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
January 7, 2010
Three variable speed limit signs along Interstate I-80 between Rawlins and Laramie were vandalized Wednesday evening, resulting in not only expensive repairs but also compromising the safety of the traveling public.
The variable speed limit system, which was implemented in 2009, uses a series of remotely controlled electronic signs. The technology allows WYDOT personnel to lower and raise the speed limit on I-80 to match current travel conditions.
It appears the vandals used rifle fire to damage the signs, located along eastbound I-80 near the Wagonhound, Arlington and Cooper Cove Interchanges (exits 267, 272 and 279). The Wyoming Highway Patrol and Carbon County Sheriff's Office are jointly investigating the crime, which occurred between 6 and 7 p.m.
The damage also disrupted reporting from automated weather stations and Web cameras in the area.
WYDOT Director John Cox said he will ask the Wyoming Transportation Commission to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who damaged the equipment.
"Not only is the damage in the tens of thousands of dollars, but it directly impacts the safety of those traveling the corridor this time of year, as well as the safety of the state employees who have to respond and attempt to repair the equipment," Cox said.
"This equipment was put into place because of the hazardous conditions which make highway travel difficult during inclement weather. Someone's foolish act of felony vandalism has literally put lives in danger," he added.
WYDOT technicians are assessing the damage this morning and hope by the end of the day to have a better idea of how and when the damage can be repaired.
For additional details or questions contact WYDOT Public Affairs at 307-777-4437.