HOUSTON – A Texas Department of Transportation crew worked overtime on the North Freeway near FM 1960 Monday evening, trying to get more than 40 Transtar cameras back online. The department said the work was necessary after someone cut into the fiber optic lines at one camera site, likely thinking there was copper wire inside to steal and sell.
The real-time cameras are a vital tool used to monitor traffic incidents in the Houston area, all to help reduce congestion on major roadways.
Local 2 uses them to track road closures and help our viewers with their commutes. Drivers said they realize their value.
"It's going to help in accidents," said Kennedy Flores. "Maybe they can solve accidents when the cameras are running."
"When they have wrecks and stuff like that on the freeway, they show where the wrecks are at," said Securick Cooper. "I think they're very valuable."
A TxDot spokesperson told Local 2 someone vandalized the camera site last week. As a result, 43 cameras from North Houston all the way to Huntsville were knocked offline. The fix required 2,000 feet of new fiber optic cable, all for a wannabe thief who made a mistake.
Once the fiber optic cables are repaired TxDot and Transtar may still have to reset the system to make sure the cameras are fully restored.