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TEXARKANA -- Rats are responsible for disabling street lights along Interstate 30 in Texarkana, and repairs are likely to take weeks.

The rodents have chewed through the wiring of overhead lights on the I-30 median between Jefferson Avenue and Four States Fair Parkway, causing "a massive electrical problem," said Tyler Richards, the city's public works director.

Most of the lights are out completely, but some are flashing, indicating that low voltage is still reaching them.

"It's a big mess," Richards said.

The city has hired a contractor to repair the lights and attempt to fortify the electrical system against further invasion. It could be two weeks or longer before repairs will even begin, and there is no certainty that rats can be kept out for long.

"Sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do to keep them out, because those dadgum rats, they'll chew through anything pretty much. There's some small things you can do to help keep them out, at least delay them," Richards said.

The problem is especially difficult to address because it is widespread. Repair cost estimates are hard to make for the same reason.

"They've gotten into virtually every section of the wiring along the median," Richards said. "It's not just one place. In between each light, there's a junction box. At each light, there's a hand hole at the bottom of the light. So they've gotten into all the junction boxes. They've gotten into all the lights themselves."

The state of Arkansas put up the lights, and the city is responsible for their maintenance and repair. The lights are not necessary for driver safety but are intended to create a welcoming approach to the city.

Metro on 03/28/2019

Print Headline: Street lights go dark along I-30 in part of state. The culprit? 'Those dadgum rats'

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