BUJUMBURA September 21st (ABP) – The city of Bujumbura has, through a Chinese company, Sinohydro Tianjin and with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB), installed traffic lights since 2017 at around 18 crossroads in the city of Bujumbura, the economic capital.
At that time, it was a sigh of relief for road users who suggested that those lights should also be installed in other towns, such as Gitega, currently the political capital, Rumonge and Ngozi, because of the importance of those traffic lights in the regulation of road traffic.
In that perspective, a check by ABP has recently made a field trip. She toured the capital to inquire about the state of this device, and the findings were bitter.
Indeed, almost all of those traffic lights are dysfunctional. The same case for those that function properly is for two hours of time, and after that it is total paralysis. Still others have been hit by vehicles and have not been repaired or replaced.
Some taxi drivers who spoke on our microphones have indicated that the malfunction of these traffic lights is currently the cause of some cases of accidents.
“When these lights are not flashing, vehicle drivers pay no attention to pedestrians at all,” they said, while calling for this device to be repaired as soon as possible to avoid the worst.
“The drivers do not give us access to the passage. They underestimate us and consider us to be worthless”, expressed indignation at the pedestrians encountered at the roundabout located in front of the Independence Square, not far from the old building of the mobile telephone company Leo.
“We have just spent 6 minutes here waiting for a conductor animated in good faith to at least give way to us,” they lamented. They believe that it is because of the dysfunction of these traffic regulators that the situation is so. And to ask the authorities of the Office of Town Planning, Housing and Construction (OBUHA) to act as soon as possible to ensure the proper functioning of this “very important” device.
On closer inspection, it is not only pedestrians who suffer, but also the police.
“Road traffic lights are a device that allows the regulation of road traffic, vehicles and pedestrians,” a traffic police officer told ABP.
When they don’t work properly, so do we too, because we have to regulate the traffic, and it is hard work, especially during traffic jams or rush hours, “he said.
In addition, the cuts of the electric current would be at the origin of all the troubles, he continued, specifying that the traffic lights function largely thanks to the current of the REGIDESO.
However solar panels are installed on poles supporting these lights, and more than one may wonder the importance of the REGIDESO current in this operating mechanism.
“These plates store energy for a period not exceeding six hours, after which the batteries automatically become weak,” he testified.
Note that the first installation of the traffic lights took place in the 90s and ended in failure, hence more than one believes that even the second risks failing if nothing is done in the sense of the repair.