As a way to maintain road sanity through installation of traffic rules, the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) said it spends a total of R880,000 a month in re-fixing traffic lights that were either vandalized, stolen or damaged by road accidents.
The agency which has decried the high amount spent only on traffic lights, explained that they insist on re-fixing them because inoperative traffic lights create nightmarish congestion on the City of Gold’s roads.
It blamed the cause for work repetition on poor power supply issues, bad weather, theft, vandalism and accidents. Saying that an average of 32 lights are vandalized or stolen a month, costing the JRA R380 000 to fix and R12.7 million over three years, while an average of 81 lights are damaged by accidents, costing R500 000.
However, to reduce such huge expenses, the agency has taken up measures that they believe will be of much help not only to them but to the residents as well. First was the installation of CCTV cameras and remote sensors that can detect tampering with poles or equipment and alarms alert armed security to apprehend the thieves.
“An Infrastructure Protection Unit has been set up within the JRA to escalate responses,” said Mpho Kau, Acting Managing Director of the JRA.
He also added that aluminium alloy cables with less street value are being used at traffic signals to make them less attractive to thieves and that remote monitoring systems at the city’s 2 135 traffic light intersections to detect faults and alert the JRA’s Traffic Operations Center for repairs will be installed to tackle damages caused by heavy rain and lightning.
To protect 3.6 million traffic signal components, R28 million has been spent over the past three years to replace aging controller equipment and R40 million in replacing old lead encased cables, making signals less prone to faults in wet weather.
“Deployment of innovative earthing mats is also underway to protect traffic signals in areas most susceptible to lightning,” Kau added.
However, JRA said one of its biggest nightmare is the issue of an extended power failure. This according to them has contributed to the delay in repairing faulty lights, which is supposed to take 24 hours, by almost a week. But the agency has devised another means of tackling it. It now makes use of Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) units at traffic signals which they say has been effective.
UPS allow traffic lights to keep operating normally despite any circumstances that would normally cause outages.
The Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA) has meanwhile, pledged to continue giving their best service to the city by ensuring road user mobility with working traffic signals is a priority. But it pleads for the help of the community by “reporting vandalism and theft of roads infrastructure as well as any traffic signal outages via our numerous reporting platforms”