NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – There was a massive traffic gridlock on roads within Kenya’s capital on Friday as policemen were withdrawn and newly installed traffic lights put to test.
The policemen were replaced with traffic marshals who monitored traffic flow but flow turned into a gridlock as motorists failed to wait for exits to clear before proceeding.
Nairobi Traffic Commandant Edward Mwamburi told Capital FM News that they were testing the use of new traffic light for effectiveness.
“We decided to let the traffic lights work without interference from traffic police, we have gone digital,” Mwamburi said and appealed to motorists to strictly obey the traffic lights.
An official from City Hall later told Capital FM News that some lights also failed to work compounding the situation.
“We were doing a test run today and no policeman was controlling traffic. Our marshals were stationed strategically and were monitoring the lights,” he explained.
“This is in preparation for tomorrow (March 1) where no policeman is to get involved in controlling traffic but instead, they should let the lights do their work,” he stated.
The government moved to install a smart system to improve efficiency and free up the numerous officers who control traffic at these points daily.
Traffic lights with countdown timers were installed and this was followed by CCTV cameras to complete the integrated security and traffic control system.
It was expected that this would enable better traffic direction with operators also able to direct officers to areas of accidents.
The Integrated Urban Surveillance System (IUSS) project was supposed to have been completed by January 2013.
The project follows a May 2012 Sh8.5 billion grant from the Chinese government for installation of CCTVs in major cities and town around the country which came in the wake of sustained terrorist attacks.
Building owners will also be required to install CCTVs to aid in security improvement in the CBD.