CoW to fork out millions on damaged traffic lights

• By Michael Uugwanga

THE City of Windhoek (CoW) will have to fork out more than N$1 million to repair 14 damaged traffic lights caused by reckless driving during the past festive period between December last year and January this year, at nine different intersections around the city.

This was said by the city’s spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, who added that even if the offenders are caught there will be no guarantee that they will pay for the damage they would have caused.

It is against this background that the City of Windhoek has expressed concern about the spate of destruction of traffic lights by reckless drivers, especially through drunk driving and those driving without valid driver’s licences.

So far, no one has been fined over the damage caused as the culprits are nowhere to be found, as offenders have a tendency of fleeing the scene.

The City of Windhoek purchases traffic lights signals and cables locally, while the controllers and replacement parts are imported from neighbouring South Africa.
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“The cost of a standard pole complete is about N$32 500 labour inclusive and for the overhead pole complete is around N$45 500 labour inclusive.

“The areas where most traffic lights were damaged through reckless driving is Otjomuise, Wanaheda and Khomasdal. No one has been charged, most offenders flee the scene before the police arrive. The cost can be passed on to the offenders if they are caught but there is no guarantee that they will pay,” said Akwenye.

The City of Windhoek has therefore warned motorists that it will soon come up with a stiffer fine system such as putting the fine on their municipality bills if the damages to traffic lights continue to escalate.

“We are advising motorists to be extra cautious when approaching traffic light intersections.
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To deter this type of damage perhaps we need to review the fine system and introduce a much stricter fine for example something similar to the traffic rules violation fines and debit it on the municipal account and impound the cars of responsible motorists that are without municipal accounts until the fine is settled,” warned Akwenye.