Rain to blame for no traffic controllers

THE absence of pointsmen to help alleviate traffic backlogs caused by broken robots during Johannesburg's wet rush hour yesterday morning was due to the rain, metro police said.

THE absence of pointsmen to help alleviate traffic backlogs caused by broken robots during Johannesburg's wet rush hour yesterday morning was due to the rain, metro police said.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said metro policemen could not work in the rain to help alleviate the severe backlogs, because they would not be visible, and this would be a danger to their safety.

"If the officers cannot be seen then it is not safe to put an officer in an intersection if an officer is not going to be visible," Minnaar said.

An official at Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), which maintains the robots, said they had received reports of 27 robots in and around the city not working, but they had managed to repair at least half by yesterday afternoon.

However, the wet weather was hampering their work with the live cables.

A note on the 702 website said that the pointsmen they help sponsor with Outsurance were not allowed to direct traffic in the rain.

According to 702's morning traffic report, there were robot problems at St Andrews Road in Parktown and Houghton, at Henley and Kingsway roads in Auckland Park, at Empire Road and Barry Hertzog Avenue in Richmond, at Barry Hertzog and Tana roads in Emmarentia, in Ruimsig at Hendrik Potgieter and Doreen roads, and at Broadway Avenue in Bruma - which are among some of the city's busiest intersections.

JRA spokesperson Thulani Makhubela said most problems were rectified within 24 hours of receiving the complaint, but if there was a delay it could be due to other factors - such as delays at City Power, which deals with cable replacement.

"The time varies on the basis of the fault."

He said of the 2000 signals at major intersections, no more than 1percent are out of order "on any given day". - Sapa

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