Solar panel yet to power any city traffic signals

February 17, 2013

The authorities have not yet installed any solar panel at the existing 70 signal posts in the capital even about four years after the project was initiated.
The installation of solar panels at 70 old signals posts is scheduled to be completed in May while the construction of 30 new signal posts, along with the installation of solar panel there, is scheduled to be completed by December.
According to the Dhaka South City Corporation officials, the five-year (2009 to 2014) Clean Air and Sustainable Environment Project, funded by the World Bank, aims to save electricity and run traffic signals round the clock by solar power.
The CASE project director, Mohammad Shehab Ullah, has told New Age that about 20 per cent of spare parts of solar panels, from China, India and the United States of America, have reached Chittagong recently.
‘We will get all spare parts within March,’ he said, adding ‘So far digging at 50 per cent of the existing 70 traffic signals has been completed.’
Shehab, also a DSCC superintending engineer, said they would be able to install all the solar panels at all the 70 signals within the deadline of May this year.
Under the project, he said, 30 more solar-powered traffic signal posts would be set up and solar panels would be installed at these posts by December 2013.
‘Digging work to lay foundation of signals is ongoing,’ the director added.
Another official of the project, however, has told New Age that the work for installing solar panels at the existing traffic signals started in the current month.
‘It will take longer time to be completed,’ the source added.
A senior official of the south city corporation (traffic division) has told New Age that there is no use installing solar panels at the traffic signals as it is not cost-effective.
‘Total cost for installing solar panels has been fixed at about Tk 15 crore, which is actually waste of public money as signals do not need to function 24 hours,’ he said.
According to the DSCC, under the World Bank-funded Dhaka Urban Transport Project, 70 traffic signals were installed at the city’s major intersections, including Shahbagh, Karwan Bazar, Mouchak and Science Laboratory crossing in 2005.
At present traffic police were manually controlling the movement of vehicles even at busy interjections like Shahbagh, Bangla Motors, Sonargaon crossing, Farmgate, Mouchak, Shantinagar and Kakrail since October last as these traffic signals were out of order.

-With New Age input

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