Pretoria - The frustration of being stuck in traffic congestion during load shedding is a thing of the past for motorists driving on Justice Mahomed and Jan Shoba streets in Brooklyn.
This is thanks to MacRobert Incorporated Attorneys who heeded a call by the City of Tshwane to adopt a traffic light to keep it working in the event of load shedding or power outage in the area.
MacRobert’s chairman Gerhardt van der Merwe breathed a sigh of relief when speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, recalling the days he would helplessly be stuck in traffic jams when traffic lights were out because of load shedding.
However, things have changed for the better after he took advantage of the city’s initiative to electrify the traffic lights at his intersection with his alternative source of power from the battery storage system.
“It is a very fantastic initiative. Initially, we approached our local councillor and it was a very smooth process, which was followed by a technical traffic team from the electricity department connecting us,” he said.
He said the process of being connected to a traffic light was not costly at all and he felt fulfilled after making a contribution to the community.
“It is our way of contributing to the upliftment of our community to keep the traffic light working, especially from a safety point of view. We even received compliments from our local community because they are happy that we assisted with traffic flow,” he said.
Both the city and the law firm had to sign a service level agreement which specified who needed to do what whenever the traffic light was out of order.
“I would definitely encourage others to do the same because we have all seen what load shedding can do. We went live on June 14. So far he said he was finding the traffic light to be brilliant in my own experience and I don’t have to endure traffic congestion,” he said.
Ward 56 councillor Farad Frimmel also hailed the project as being brilliant because it assisted in easing traffic flow on the road.
“There isn't a cost and the only cost would be setting up the electricity box to connect to the traffic lights. Basically, anyone who stays at the intersections can power a traffic light, either a company or a resident. If they have solar power or excess power, they can connect the cable to their house,” he said.
Frimmel said the rationale behind the plan was to have the traffic lights working during load shedding and power outages.
“If you have excess power that could be a generator, batteries or solar power - you can power a traffic light during load shedding and that is the only condition,” he said.
He said the procedure for adopting a traffic light would be to reach out to a local councillor, who would in turn “engage with the city’s traffic light team so that they can come for inspection to see if it is possible. It is quite simple to do. They just connect the box and cable to your property”.
“This is still a pilot project and they are still testing it out. There is a service level agreement that you need to sign beforehand. If you don’t want to do it anymore you just message the guys and they will come and disconnect you from the City of Tshwane’s side. Eventually this will go to council and go through a process of what one needs to do but for now it is a pilot process,” he said.