Burglars have raided the solar lighting systems across segments of highway 2000 in St. Catherine, making-off with 53 batteries.
Chief Executive Officer of the Toll Authority, the regulatory agency for the toll road, Joan Fletcher, says the batteries were discovered missing, over the last two weeks, during routine checks, along the corridor.
Ms. Fletcher says six stainless steel boxes containing 24 batteries were discovered missing from metal post lighting systems along the Spanish Town eastbound on-ramp, on March 24.
These boxes were placed approximately nine metres above ground on the metal post.
Another three boxes containing 12 batteries were stolen from sections of the Mandela Highway westbound on-ramp on March 30, while an additional 17 were removed from the eastbound off-ramp, along that corridor, on March 31.
Ms. Fletcher says in the March 31 incident, quick action by the police, who were alerted of the thieves’ activities, led to the recovery of four damaged batteries in an adjoining cane field.
She points out that the culprits are believed to have tossed the batteries away in the field while fleeing the lawmen. The matter is still under investigation.
The solar lighting systems were installed at a cost of $150 m by the developer of the St. Catherine leg of Highway 2000, Trans-Jamaican Highway limited.
The provision has served to enhance the visibility of motorists and other users of the highway at the corridor’s key interchanges, at night.
Trans-Jamaican’s quality maintenance and planning engineer, Melbourne Lyn-Cook, says not only has the theft created a significant financial impact on the company and its shareholders, it has also rendered the affected sections of the lighting systems inoperable.
He says that while this poses some discomfort for users due to reduced visibility for users at night, the company has, to date, not received any report of mishaps.
Mr. Lyn-Cook says the remaining 175 batteries have been temporarily relocated to a secure storage area.
Meanwhile, the company is exploring effective security mechanisms and measures for implementation, which will serve as deterrents.
Mr. Lyn-Cook says once an effective solution to secure them has been determined, the company will schedule the re-installation and replacement of the fixtures, as the budget permits.
Additionally, routine patrols, currently being carried out, will continue in the effort to monitor the area and provide assistance where needed.
The St. Catherine police are seeking the help of citizens, as they investigate the theft.
Persons with information that can assist the investigations are being asked to call the highway 2000 east-west toll free number at 1-888-429-5632 or the ferry police at 705-8349 or 705-8112.
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