Johannesburg - Vandalism, power outages, illegal connections and load shedding are all contributing to the traffic light outages that are causing a nightmare on Joburg’s roads.
The Joburg CBD and most of the main roads are the worst affected, with some motorists spending as much as two hours to get to work and another two hours to get home.
“The problem of non-functioning robots appears to be getting worse,” said one motorist.
According to daily traffic reports, the most complaints about out-of-order lights come from Witkoppen Road, New Road in Midrand, William Nicol Drive, Booysens and the Joburg CBD.
The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) says it is constantly being blamed for the broken traffic lights when vandalism is one of the main causes.
This costs the city R34million in repairs a year.
Sipho Nhlapo, acting head of the JRA’s mobility and freight, said the agency managed a total of 2300 signalised intersections in the city.
Technical faults, he explained, were when a traffic light flashes red or bulbs flicker.
In this case, the JRA was required to fix the problem in 24 hours after a fault was reported.
In January this year, 890 faults were reported, with 818 (92%) resolved within 24 hours.
In February 2019, 1350 faults were reported, with 1228 (91%) resolved within 24 hours of being reported.
“Power-related faults arise when the traffic light does not show any sign of life and signal heads are all dark. These are reported to City Power or Eskom to resolve as they are power-related,” Nhlapo said.
He said a traffic signal, just like any other electronic device, requires power to function, so in the event there is no power, the JRA can only wait until electricity is restored.
“In order to manage these power failures, the JRA, City Power and Eskom have an agreement that the power utilities will prioritise the traffic signal complaints reported by the JRA,” he said.
As for vandalism, the intersection at Turf and Goud streets in Eldorado Park was recently reconstructed at a cost of R380000, and it was vandalised in four days.
“We had to return there to install traffic signal controllers at a cost of R45000,” Nhlapo said.
The city last year allocated R6million for a “no join” policy for traffic lights.
This means entire cables are re- installed for maintenance, instead of just being repaired.
Nhlapo said this approach was working well, and between July 2017 and July 2018 a total of 229 traffic signals were recabled.
This resulted in outages decreasing, the spokesperson said.
AA spokesperson Layton Beard said motorists should be patient when driving in Joburg.