Copper thieves hit KC Scout traffic monitoring system

The Kansas City Scout system is out of service over much of the area, at least in part because of suspected copper thieves.

The system, which monitors traffic conditions on highways and alerts motorists to problems, is down on most of Interstate 70 from near the sports complex on the east to about Mission Road and Interstate 35 on the Kansas side. The downtown loop is also affected, as is Interstate 29/35 into the Northland up to the highway split.

The problems began Friday when vandals, suspected to be looking for copper to steal, cut the Scout system’s fiber optic “backbone” on the Manchester bridge on I-70, said Gina Myles, spokeswoman for the Scout system.

Crews were working to repair that problem when another failure occurred Tuesday night, taking down a larger swath of the system that is jointly operated by the Missouri and Kansas departments of transportation. Myles said officials have not yet determined what caused the second problem.

Officials hope to have all sensors, cameras and alert signs back in operation by the middle of next week.