VINCENT MHENE IN GWERU
The Gweru City Council will install traffic lights and refurbish malfunctioning ones in the central business district (CBD) as it moves to reduce traffic accidents.
The city council has resolved to install electricity powered traffic lights.
“As council we are in a difficult position and as I always have said that the issue is before an arbitrator, but what we have said now is that we don’t even know when this case is going to be over.
“So, we are going to work on all the busy intersections, put old traffic lights like those we used to have and still use in Mtapa,” the Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe (pictured), told The Business Times.
He added: “We decided that while we wait for the courts to deal with the issue of the solar ones which were paid for, in the meantime, we deal with the challenge we have of not having functioning robots. You will soon see our workers start putting those old traffic lights at busy intersections.”
The city has in the past three years, had all its traffic lights not functioning.
The local authority could not repair them due to a legal wrangle with a contractor, Emobuild Construction, which was engaged in 2013, and paid in full, to install the traffic lights in the CBD.
But, the lights became malfunctioning soon after.
The Gweru City Council dragged Emobuild into arbitration for failure to honour its warranty.
The city council is seeking compensation for claims it paid to motorists who were involved in accidents at robot-controlled intersections.
But, the case is yet to be determined.
Makombe said the city council would go back to installing solar-powered traffic lights once the arbitration court finalises the issue before it.
The council’s plan to install traffic lights has been welcomed by residents, who had for long been demanding that the robots be fixed.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association executive director, Cornilia Selipiwe, said the installation of traffic lights would reduce the number of accidents in the city.
“I think this is a welcome move, thank you to our local authority, thank you to our mayor (Josiah Makombe), he has been very considerate around this issue.
This has been causing serious challenges in terms of how traffic is moving in Gweru,” Selipiwe told Business Times.
He added that although the residents wanted to see the city having modern solar-powered traffic lights, it was better to have the old robots than not have any.
In 2018, Gweru City Council revealed that it had awarded Drewland Mining Company a tender to replace the electricity-powered robots with solar-powered ones, but the deal collapsed.
Municipalities across the country are dumping electricity-powered traffic lights for those that use solar, as Zimbabwe has been grappling with electricity shortages.