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11.06.2004 General News

Ministry takes steps to avert road traffic jams

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Accra, June 11, GNA - Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport, Friday announced measures being put in place to stem the several motor traffic jam in the various regional capitals and the city of Accra in particular.

He said a number of engineering and non-engineering strategies, including the installation of standby batteries and solar energy system to power traffic lights, were being put in place to ensure that there was smooth flow of traffic in times of power outages. Other strategies would address supply problems, motor accidents and system faults.

The Minister made the announcement in answer to a question posed by Mr Kwame O. Frimpong, NPP - Ahafo Ano North, on what plans the Ministry had to provide efficient and uninterrupted traffic light systems in our cities and major towns to avoid traffic stampede at traffic light points when there was power outage.

He said the Ministry, acting through the Department of Urban Roads, manages a total of 183 traffic signal installations in the country, comprising of 115 in Accra, 25 in Kumasi and 13 in Sekondi-Takoradi. The rest are Tema, seven; Tamale, six; Koforidua, four and Sunyani, three. Cape Coast and Swedru has two each and Wa, Obuasi, Bawku, Bolgatanga and Ho have one each.

Dr Anane said all the traffic installation signals operated on electric power from the national grid, adding that the current power consumption of each traffic light per month ranges between 576 KWH and 2880 KWH.

He said to avert the usual traffic jams during power outages and other unpredictable circumstances, the Ministry was currently in the process of installing surge arrestors to prevent power overloads, stabilizers to prevent low voltages to the system and the usage of generators and dual power sources, where feasible.

"We also have non-engineering measure, which is the Police manual control of intersections where traffic signals go out of order," he said.

The Minister said there were some future power outage management measures such as the extension of dual source of power to most installations, networking of installations with a central control system, which would be able to detect power outages and alert the Police to move in and do manual control.

"The Ministry has already completed engineering studies for the networking," he said.

He said the Ministry had also signed a contract recently for the installation of a pilot solar-powered traffic signals on the Kanda Highway in Accra, adding that it would be completed this month and would be studied and if found to be cost effective, extended throughout the country.

Meanwhile, feasibility studies were on going on the possible usage of rechargeable batteries to power traffic lights during power outages, the Minister said.

In response to another question about when the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) would implement the various measures introduced by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government in 1999 with the restructuring of the then VELD and the passage of Act 569 of 1999, the Minister said there was no evidence of any such measures handed down from NDC to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government. The question stood in the name of Mr Addo Kwakye, NDC - Afram Plains South.

Dr Anane, however, said that since the NPP took over, it had boosted the staff level of the DVLA, initiated a computerization project, which was on-going to facilitate the work of the DVLA and also instituted a number of organisational and administrative measures to improve the service delivery of the DVLA.

Meanwhile some papers including the Convention of the African Energy Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control were laid in the name of the Minister of Energy and Minister of Health, respectively.