To see a sentence begin with the words “traffic lights out on” has become a regular occurrence on Twitter and other social media sites when referring to the state of Johannesburg’s road signalling infrastructure.
However, despite what you may believe, Johannesburg Roads Agency says traffic signal component faults are repaired within 24 hours.
BusinessTech queried the JRA on the state of traffic signals in the city. The agency said that it has 2,111 signalised intersections, and 14 technicians to service them.
When asked why traffic lights take so long to repair, the JRA said: “Traffic signal component faults are repaired by JRA in 24 hours. Damaged signals due to accidents and vandalism can take 3 days, the faulty signals over a week and more are power failures and City Power attends to those matters.”
Eskom’s load shedding has proven to be a headache for all citizens in South Africa over the past several months. “Load shedding obviously switches the signal off. Some components can be damaged through repeated power outage,” the JRA.
It said that a new traffic light costs around R150,000.
When asked what it is doing to move away from lights that require electricity in an unstable environment like the country has at the moment, the JRA: “City Power investigates and implements alternative power sources where they see fit. JRA is installing UPS backup batteries at critical signals.
“There are currently 20 signals powered by solar … but City Power is responsible for power supply matters,” it said.