WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - This story has been updated with a statement from FPL which says it does not service the lights in question.
The lights along I-95 around 10th Avenue North, where a few dozen drivers suffered flat tires after running over metal rods Monday, have been sporadically out after Hurricane Irma, WPTV has learned exclusively.
About a mile stretch of I-95 turned into a pitch black spike strip in the predawn hours Monday.
“Right up here is when I hit it,” Nicole Duprey told us Monday, while we rode in the car with her. She hit the metal around 5:30 a.m.
Florida Highway Patrol says metal rods somehow fell off a truck and onto the highway.
You’ll notice the lights northbound stop working right as you pass 10th Avenue N sign, indicating the exit is one mile away. They come back on before the Forest Hill exit.
Soon after, Nicole Duprey was one of a few dozen cars to run over the rods, disabling their cars.
They never saw the rods coming.
“I mean it’s dangerous. You can’t see what’s on the road in front of you,” Nicole said.
We listened to several 911 calls saying something similar. The lights are out and they can’t see.
“We’ve been having some issues with the lighting in the median of road, middle of the road, ever since Hurricane Irma last fall,” said Barbara Kelleher, a Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman, in an exclusive interview with WPTV.
They believe the weekend storm knocked out the lights again.
“We’ve been working on it with FP&L since last fall,” Barbara said.
“I think it’s been too long. I don’t know why it took until now for them to see that it’s been a problem if it’s been since Irma. Mostly everything else is fixed since Irma,” Nicole said.
In a statement Wednesday morning Florida Power and Light said... " the stretch of street lights in question are not owned by FPL nor do we provide electric service to them. These lights are owned by FDOT and served by Lake Worth Utilities.
FDOT said they would consider adding a warning message to their electronic signs on the highway if the lights are out in the future.