The state says the theft of copper from pumping stations used to clear water from Detroit-area freeways may have been a contributing factor in this week's major highway flooding.
Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Diane Cross said the copper piping had been stolen from several pumping stations — but MDOT didn’t know about the thefts until going in to pump the water after Monday’s torrential storms.
Cross said it could be several days before all freeways are reopened.
“It really is an extremely rare situation, but we’re working the best we can to get the roads open,” she said.
Reports say possible factors include pump houses not working properly because of metal thieves taking copper used in the pumping systems. Copper theft for sale as scrap is a longstanding area problem, with it being blamed in many streetlight outages.
Could the copper theft also be for plausible deniable liability for the flooded roads?