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Defective Traffic Lights
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Dumisani Ndlovu - Zimeye.org
11/03/2014

Council Buys ‘Useless Zhing- Zhong Robots’

Motorists in Gweru have expressed burning concerns over newly installed street lights that have since gone out of order barely a month after they were installed.

The residents accused the city fathers of buying cheap robots in a bid to swindle rate payer’s money.

“It is uncalled for. How can a serious municipality buy cheap and poor quality street lights material? See now the lights are no longer working, so far I personally witnessed three accidents at various places in the third capital city here. At OK shop near Gweru’s Boggie Clock a Toyota Prado and Vigo car collided in the morning. In a related incident a lorry and a commuter bus rammed at each other near Edgars and Kudzanai Bus Terminus in the afternoon. Three hours later a cyclist was knocked down by a vehicle, in fact the list is endless, because of the Zhing- zhong type of street lights bought by city fathers,” said a taxi driver who identified himself as Lameck Chikowore.

After having realizing that electricity cuts had reach fever pitch, in November last year Gweru city council decided to install photo voltaic (solar) traffic lights in the central business district (CBD). The project to install the devices at three intersections as well as making replacements at (12) twelve other intersections gobbled US$65 000, a senior council official has informed.

Gweru City Council Assistant Director of engineering services, Irvin Muzondo, told ZimEye how power cuts prompted them to consider the option of going for solar power.

“Yes after having realized unnecessary power cuts affecting street lights. I am happy we finished implementing the projects despite the challenges faced. Almost all the jobs have been finished. We started with the Robert Mugabe and Sixth Street intersection since the area had never had robots before,’’ Muzondo said.

This reporter toured the places and witnessed that the traffic lights at Robert Mugabe Street were no longer operational and vehicles had since resorted to simple human ways of giving way to each other.

Tapiwa Marerwa, the assistant town clerk responsible for public relations, said work on the installation of new traffic lights was complete, with upgrading of the old ones almost over and done with. The senior council official went on to say the installation of the new robots was aimed at easing traffic congestion given the increasing volume of traffic in the Midlands capital.

“Our main aim is to ensure that we have smooth flow of traffic in the CBD. Of late we have witnessed an upsurge in the volume of traffic in the city and to curb that we looked at installing new hybrid traffic lights at three intersections.

“The other traffic lights in existence were old and we saw it fit to be replaced with new technology. You may have noticed the newly installed lights recurrently break down, exposing motorists to the danger of accidents. This is a challenge that emanates from thunder storm as it is commonly known that in this season electrical gadgets and machinery are usually affected, it’s a natural phenomenon; However the secret of success is consistency of purpose. We are crafting a possible solution to counter this disturbing issue” Marerwa said

New traffic lights were installed at intersections of Lobengula Avenue and 8th Street, Robert Mugabe and 6th Street and Lobengula Ave and 6th Street.

Upgrading and replacing of traffic lights was carried out at the following intersections; Lobengula Ave and 2nd Street, Lobengula Ave and 3rd Street, Lobengula Ave and Main Street, Moffat Ave and Main Street, Leopold Takawira and Main Street, Robert Mugabe and 2nd Street, Robert Mugabe and 3rd Street, Robert Mugabe and Main Street, Robert Mugabe and 5th Street, Robert Mugabe and 7th Street and Robert Mugabe and 8th Street but residents and motorists claim nothing was done since the project had never served its intended purpose.

Other bigger cities like Harare and Bulawayo have successfully embraced solar powered traffic lights.


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