Battery Thieves Plunder Calgary Road Signs

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The Canadian city of Calgary has spread out far and wide, and boasts an impressive network of modern highways. Bus companies, construction companies, couriers, and other businesses rely on electronic message boards to plan their journeys. Unfortunately, Battery thieves have been plundering their power supplies, increasing the impact of gridlocks and traffic delays.

Battery Thieves Rip Off 500 Signs a Year

battery thieves

Dynamic Route Guidance: Stadt Nürnberg: Public Domain

Ravi Seera, the city’s traffic manager says over 500 lead-acid batteries disappeared from variable message boards last year. “It’s become a real problem for the city but it’s not just us – it’s impacting a lot of businesses,” he explains.

The variable message boards rely on solar power during daytime. At night they run on lead-acid battery banks charged in the course of the previous day. The authorities position the information boards in high-visibility areas on roadsides. Unfortunately this means heartless battery thieves have easy access too. This is not good news for strangers navigating their way after dark.

Calgary Traffic Authority On the Comeback

battery thieves

Edmonton Throughway: ThankYouBaby: CC 3.0

The city traffic authority first tried a defensive approach using chains, but the thieves cut through these with bolt cutters. Next, they tried switching from glass mat batteries to standard flooded ones to reduce losses.

They even reduced the number of batteries in the signs to make the pickings leaner, but it made no difference. They then went on the offensive with more police patrols while developing a secure, padlocked box that is virtually plunder proof. The project is not cheap. Retrofitting the first 50 variable signs will cost $70,000.

The city of Edmonton 187 miles to the north has been experiencing similar problems and applying a related solution. A few weeks ago, police caught two battery thieves red-handed there. For now at least the problem has dried up in Edmonton.

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Preview Image: On Entering Calgary

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Richard

I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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