Fiber optics malfunction disables all Ga. 400 traffic cameras

Traffic cameras along Ga. 400 were on the blink Thursday and Friday, but unlike an outage that affected a couple of the cameras last week, this problem wasn’t caused by the theft of copper wiring.

Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Goldberg told the AJC Friday that the latest outage was due to a “malfunction of some kind” in the fiber optic network that relays the images from the cameras to the state’s Transportation Management Center.

Goldberg did not have an estimate of when the problem would be resolved and the cameras operational again.

Officials at the Transportation Management Center initially told the AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Traffic Center early Thursday that this week’s outage was due to the theft of copper wiring and fiber optic lines, a problem that has been plaguing not only the DOT but other government agencies as well recently.

Feeds from a pair of cameras on Ga. 400 at the Chattahoochee River in Sandy Springs went dark during the afternoon rush hour on Aug. 27, and when police officers checked on the cameras, “they realized copper and fiber had been stolen from a junction box,” Sandy Springs police Capt. Keith Zgonc said.

DOT spokesman Mark McKinnon told Channel 2 Action News last week that the agency was “having a real problem with people going out and taking that copper.”

“Having those cameras operable is important,” McKinnon said. “That’s what helps your average motorist get to work every day, that we’re able to see what’s going on out there.”

McKinnon said the thefts are also dangerous to the thieves.

“Someone could get themselves killed doing something like that,” he said.

Antonio O. Beasley, 48, of Atlanta was recently arrested and charged with felony theft by taking for allegedly stealing copper wiring from about 50 light poles in Sandy Springs.