BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) yesterday commissioned its first solar traffic lights at one of the city’s busiest intersections, as the city forges ahead with plans to turn green.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at the commissioning of the lights and resealed road works yesterday, Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said the introduction of the solar traffic lights in the city was one of the greatest milestones his council had achieved.
“This intersection [Cecil Road and Coghlan Street] is the first intersection to use solar technology in Bulawayo and was done at a cost of $8 000 with the assistance of Solar-Tech Africa, who supplied the solar panels and batteries,” he said.
“The system is completely isolated from the national power grid and we note that with the electricity challenges facing the nation, we will not be affected. We are here to launch an idea that will ensure constant power supply to our traffic lights and reduce accidents at the city’s intersections that are caused by the current power outages being experienced countrywide.”
Moyo described solar energy as environmental friendly and a sustainable source of energy, saying “it is my hope that we will have enough funding to make this dream a reality”.
Bulawayo has 90 traffic-controlled intersections and in 2009 council decided to invest in an emerging energy-saving technology called light-emitting diodes (LED) for traffic lights and street lights.
The mayor said various efforts had been made to ensure that the installation of these in all traffic lights and to date 80 intersections had been equipped with the new lighting technology at a cost of $300 000 and the remaining 10 would be done in the first half of next year.
Meanwhile, Moyo said about 69% of the city’s road network was in bad shape and urged residents to pay their rates on time.
He said the road network upgrade required capital of about $691 million over 10 years.
Bulawayo has a road network that stretches over 2 064,97km including sealed and gravelled roads.
BCC also commissioned resealed road works, which were done at a cost of $5 million by a local company, Asphalt Products.