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Traffic light thefts lead to highway closure in Butte County

Oct 13, 2023

Part of Oroville Quincy Highway is temporarily closed while the county is figuring out alternative solutions to prevent thefts and keep drivers safe.

BUTTE COUNTY. Calif. 4:23 P.M. UPDATE - Butte County Public Works said public work team members from engineering and road maintenance met earlier today to explore options to re-open Oro Quincy Highway.

Butt County Public Works said, “We plan to make the existing barrier protecting the failed section of Oro Quincy shorter so that people can see better when driving through the one-way traffic area. Crews will also install pavement rumble strips to reduce speeds through the closure and more signs for drivers going east to improve safety and reduce the risk of collisions. We anticipate completing this work by Thursday evening, August 24th.”


In Butte County you may have to plan a detour. Part of Oroville Quincy highway is closed due to a series of traffic signal thefts and vandalism.

This closure is just past Brush Creek, and the county has temporarily closed the highway because of these thefts to find other solutions.

Part of the Oro. Quincy highway was damaged during the winter storms, which resulted in having one lane open with temporary traffic signals in place to help drivers.

Butte County Public Works Director Joshua Pack tells Action News Now over this past week, the first set of traffic signals were vandalized beyond temporary repair. Several parts, like solar panels, batteries, and wiring, were stolen. This past weekend, the county issued another set of traffic signals, which didn't last long either.

"We were able to secure a second pair of traffic signals that were very difficult to get. Those were deployed in one to two days or Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, in 24 hours, one of the two new traffic signals was stolen," said Pack.

Pack says the thefts cost the county and the safety of drivers. He says the average temporary traffic signal costs about $45,000, so the county rents them out. He says crews and engineers will go to the closure Tuesday morning to see if there are other solutions for drivers to travel safely without putting new traffic signals out. He says the county will try to have alternatives by Wednesday with a decision on whether the highway will remain closed by the end of the week.

Pack says the county knows how this can impact drivers, with Highway 70 also under construction. He says with Labor Day and hunting season coming up; they hope to have the highway open again for several weeks before closing it again during the winter.

Pack says the thefts and vandalism are making keeping drivers safe on the road challenging, and asking for the community's help.

Pack is asking anyone in that area to report any missing equipment if found and any suspicious activity surrounding the equipment if the county decides to deploy new traffic signals.

They expect to have the road back open later this evening.