Vandals causing traffic light faults, says City

The City of Cape Town says it is working to fix faulty traffic lights at various intersections.

Vandalism and theft are frequently to blame for the faulty traffic lights causing congestion in greater Table View and surrounds, says the City of Cape Town.

Residents in Table View, Bothasig and Dunoon say some lights have been on the blink for weeks and even months. They include lights along Malibongwe Drive, Potsdam Road, the N7, Plattekloof Road, Blaauwberg Road and Janssens Avenue.

Brent Aldridge, of Bothasig, said it was a nightmare navigating the intersection of the N7 and Plattekloof Road.

“That intersection is busy all day, every day. There are taxis from Killarney, private vehicles and trucks all using that road,” he said. “I fear that there is going to be a major accident there soon. As road users, we all try to navigate our way there safely, but there are some drivers who don’t seem to know the rules of the road, whether the lights are working or not.”

According to Felicity Purchase, mayoral committee member for transport, theft is to blame for problems with the signals at the N7 intersections with Malibongwe Drive and Plattekloof Road. The City was working with Province, which owns the signals, to fix the problem, she said.

Meanwhile the City had fixed the fault on the electrical supply to the lights at the Blaauwberg Road and Janssens Avenue intersection. “ We do not expect any further faults of this type to occur,” she said.

Dunoon residents say traffic lights on Potsdam Road, near the taxi rank, have been out for months. Ms Purchase said two junctions on Potsdam Road were out because of vandalism, and the City had started fixing one of them last week.

“The supply to the junction is provided by Eskom. The Eskom distribution point has also been vandalised. Eskom contractors have been prohibited from effecting repairs by the rioters barring access to the distribution point. It should be noted that a number of intersections in the general area surrounding Dunoon have been repeatedly vandalised with more being added each week. Each rectification activity takes several days to carry out. There is a finite number of work teams available, all of which are heavily engaged in the repairs. This means that newly vandalised sites take longer to repair,” she said.

The traffic lights on Blaauwberg and Koeberg roads were also fixed, according to Ms Purchase and she said that the City did not expect any further problems.

This chart shows all the intersections where traffic lights have been damaged by vandalism and theft.

Philippe Roche, of Table View, wrote to Chief Inspector Desré Liebenberg at the City’s traffic services, detailing the issues in many of the roads in and around Table View.

He said residents had been logging service requests and calling the emergency centre about the faulty lights.

“What is most important is that traffic department officers have allegedly been seen at some of these intersections and many residents have complained that they noticed traffic department vehicles at some intersections simply sitting and watching the mayhem. Not actually on their feet at the intersections helping relieve the problems and managing traffic,” he said.

Ms Liebenberg responded to Mr Roche’s letter, saying traffic services had been assisting at the faulty intersections since the beginning of March.

“Normally we double-up officers on an intersection in order to relieve each other. But due to the amount of defective intersections, one officer must do a point for an uninterrupted period of two hours, which is very straining. Traffic services can only assist with the resources available to the best of our ability, but during load shedding times, there are just too many intersections that cannot be covered and congestion is inevitable. We will continue to assist where and when operationally possible” she said.