VANCOUVER – A fiber optic line was cut along State Route 500 during a failed metal theft attempt Friday morning, causing a network outage for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
"Electronic message boards and traffic cameras are down along I-5 from Vancouver to Kelso," said WSDOT's Abbi Russell. "Some of the internal systems WSDOT uses to keep track of road crews are down, as well."
“We can’t track our crews for safety purposes, and we can’t warn drivers about issues on the interstate right now," WSDOT administrator Don Wagner added. "If there was ever a time for drivers to avoid distractions and stay vigilant, this is it.”
A utility contractor was working to repair the line and hoped to have the network back up and running by Friday afternoon, but drivers were advised to be extremely attentive in the I-5 work zones near Salmon Creek and Woodland.
Russell said drivers on I-5 at the Washington-Oregon border should expect longer than usual delays Friday. In addition to the outage, several unexpected Interstate Bridge lifts were slowing traffic.