More lighting needed on the Riverwalk

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, May 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- News 12 uncovered a string of lights not working on the Riverwalk Tuesday night. Some wonder if better lighting could have prevented a couple from being brutally attacked there last weekend.

"I don't know why hey weren't on. I'm not aware of it," said Street Lights Operation Manager David Utley.

Utley says his crew just changed more than 40 light bulbs on the Rivewalk last week. News 12 brought him out to see just how many lights were not coming on.

"We use to have a patrol down here, but you don't have that anymore," Utley said.

News 12 walked the Riverwalk, and a number of lights came on and then went off. Some lights never even turned on at all.

"When we came out, these three lights were working. These three were working. I'd say these went out in the last three or four days," Utley said.

Commissioners don't like that area being in the dark, especially since the attack of Wesley Spires and Ashley Solesbee over the weekend.

"We don't need to look at just one part of the plan," said Commissioner Mary Davis.

"People will do bad things in the daylight or night," Utley said.

His three-man team is responsible for more than 100 light poles along the Riverwalk and countless others throughout the city. Utley says the reason they were out Tuesday night could be an electrical short, something wrong inside the pole or people actually turning off this blue switch that controls them.

"We have a heavy load to keep up, but we're a small crew. We try to do our best," he said.

Leaders say well-lit areas are one step in the safety process for downtown.


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