JRA: Broken robots soon to be a thing of the past

Earthing mats to prevent lightning strikes are piled up and ready to be rolled out.

FILE: Rains affects traffic lights in Joburg. Picture: Supplied/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Traffic lights going on the blink every time it rains in the city will soon be a thing of the past, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) said.

Eyewitness News this week, in a special feature, put the spotlight on Johannesburg's robots.

The JRA's Darryl Thomas says he likes to think this used to be true but not anymore.

"Johannesburg was left with a legacy of very old equipment. We have traffic signal controls which are between 30 and 40 years old. We have power cables in the ground which are up to 60-70 years old."

At the JRA's depot in Newtown, rusty cables pulled out of the ground are coiled alongside the next-generation ones.

THIS is why the #TrafficLights go out when it rains. Old paper and lead cables that are being replaced. pic.twitter.com/qqZqF3m0yV

Earthing mats to prevent lightning strikes are also piled up and ready to be rolled out.

Thomas says a deadline has been set to rid Johannesburg of old equipment.

"June 2016 is the date we've set ourselves to replace all those cables."

#TrafficLights Why do traffic lights go out when it rains? What is being done about vandalism? Why aren't there more solar powered robots?

#TrafficLights There are 2114 signalled intersections in Joburg. There are 14 technicians employed to fix these. Each looks after 170.

He says the agency is trying to fix faults within 24 hours.

"We're never, ever not going to have traffic signal faults. We just got to get out there and know about these faults as soon as possible."

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