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Danger in the dark: residents say unlit road is a safety issue for drivers and wildlife

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Residents in an Oro Valley neighborhood face a potentially dangerous situation just driving down the street and the resolution to fix the issue may be a longtime coming.

On Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, there are tons of light fixtures up and down the street. The problem is none of them are on, meaning drivers and pedestrians don’t have much visibility ahead of them on a winding road. Neighbors say it’s a safety issue, not only for them but for the wildlife.”

″It’s very dark and a lot of people like to walk in the evening on the sidewalks and things here, so it does seem like it presents some kind of safety issue and then there’s a lot of wildlife in this neighborhood and a lot of animals who are crossing the street like coyotes and javelinas,” homeowner David Provencher said.

Provencher has lived near Rancho Vistoso Boulevard for 17 years and he’s seen how the lighting on the street has changed over the years.

″There have been some periodic issues in the past, but I’ve been noticing the lights aren’t on late at night on Rancho Vistoso,” he said.

KOLD News 13 spoke with several other neighbors and they tell us, once the sun sets, they avoid the area as much as they can. They no longer feel safe walking their dog, biking, and some won’t even drive.

The concern of many neighbors is Arizona’s wildlife. They fear it could become a hotspot for fatalities unless something changes.

However, that change is a long and hard road ahead. Residents in the area received a notice from the Vistoso Community Association.

The association’s board of directors say more than 250 light fixtures need to be replaced, but on top of that, the entire underground system will also need to be replaced.

The board of directors say the wiring has been subjected to numerous rounds of underground construction over a 35 year period, which has caused countless outages over the years.

The board of directors say they are working with electrical engineering experts to find the best approach to the fixing the lights, but that several local lighting companies have turned down the job. At this time, there is no date in sight for when the issue will be resolved.

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