Copper thieves knock out Kansas City Scout cameras and billboards

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Something will be missing from the morning commute for thousands of metro drivers Wednesday, and you might notice it before you even leave the house.

The Kansas City Scout System is working to fix camera and electronic billboards after copper thieves damaged their fiber-optics.

Scout cameras are used by 41 Action News and other local news stations to keep viewers aware of traffic situations across the Kansas City area.

The Scout system also posts important information, like drive times to certain destinations, along with amber alerts and emergency information, on their electronic billboards.

"It's something motorists and the traveling public whether they're driving on the roadways or watching news media in the morning, learn to really rely on those cameras and the scout information," Scout project manager Scott Sommerhauser said.

The outages only affect cameras and billboards on Interstate 70 between Mission Road in Kansas City, Kan., and the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Mo., plus Interstate 35/29 north of downtown up to the split.

Scout officials say the trouble started on Friday, when the thieves cut a vital part of the system's fiber-optics near the Manchester Bridge.

Then, on Tuesday night, when crews were repairing the original problem, another one sprouted up, causing more outages.

Officials hope to have the system back up and running in time for Thursday's evening commute.

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