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High-tech additions are being made to traffic lights in Johannesburg, to ease the flow of traffic. They include uninterrupted power supplies.
A MULTIMILLION rand upgrade of traffic signals by the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) will begin shortly at key intersections in the city.


The new traffic lightsHigh-tech traffic lights will ease flow of trafficJRA spokesperson Thulani Makhubela said 200 intersections had been identified for the first phase of a comprehensive plan to improve mobility in the city.

The first phase, an R11-million investment, includes the installation of solar powered signals, remote monitoring systems and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units at critical intersections.

“Faulty traffic lights and potholes are always mentioned by commuters as their biggest sources of frustration. We are busy with programmes to fix both problems,” said Makhubela.

Seven technical teams were already working in the CBD, Soweto, Sandton, Orange Farm, Alexandra, Roodepoort, Midrand, Northcliff and Randburg to ensure that traffic lights were working.

“These cause massive traffic snarl-ups, often during peak hours, leading to huge losses in productivity,” said Makhubela, blaming cable theft and vandalism as the major causes of traffic lights not working.

The extension of the Rea Vaya network had also resulted in the disruption of power supply at some intersections, he added. However, the installation of the UPS units would help alleviate this problem.

Cable theft was costing the City and its ratepayers R14,5 million that could be spent on other measures to improve traffic flows, said Makhubela. In an attempt to reduce theft, the agency had fitted the latest technology to high-tech traffic lights that would alert it of power disruption or other technical problems.

“We are making progress in our campaign against these criminals, including the arrests of middlemen and scrap yard owners who receive and dispose of stolen copper cables.”

The JRA has also retrofitted some traffic signal globes with light emitting diodes (LEDS), which consume less electricity than conventional light bulbs. LEDs are known to last for a minimum of five years as opposed to the three-month lifespan of conventional light bulbs.

It is responsible for about 10 000 kilometres of road and over 2 000 signalised intersections, and it must maintain more than 30 000 globes.

Residents are urged to report faulty traffic signals and incidents of vandalism to Joburg Connect, on 011 375 5555.

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