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Updated: April 16, 2013 10:39 IST

Long hours of power cuts hit traffic signals

Special Correspondent
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Prolonged power cuts and insufficient power even to charge UPS backup have resulted in manual regulation of traffic at most of the signals in the city. Photo:M. Periasamy.
The Hindu Prolonged power cuts and insufficient power even to charge UPS backup have resulted in manual regulation of traffic at most of the signals in the city. Photo:M. Periasamy.

Even signals with UPS backup not spared

The traffic signals in the city are the worst-hit due to the long hours of power cuts. Even the signals with power backup are failing because of insufficient power to charge the batteries.

The Coimbatore City has 47 automatic traffic signals. Of the 26 signals in the Coimbatore east, three are powered by Solar and 11 of them have uninterrupted power supply (UPS) backup, while the rest depend on power supply. In Coimbatore west, of the 21 signals, six of them have UPS backup, while the rest purely depend on power supply, traffic police officials said.

Only recently, the City Police embarked on a mission to get either UPS or solar power backup for the signals and the process is still on.

Though the UPS backup proved to be cost-effective, since it costs only Rs. 70,000 per signal with road junction, the batteries offer backup for only four hours. If the power cuts go beyond three-and-a-half to four hours, the signals go blind. While the solar power backup costs around Rs. 1.5 to 2 lakh depending on the number of road junctions.

The situation turns worse at night when the UPS back-up fails and when the power supply also goes off. Police personnel are forced to regulate the traffic with reflective jackets and batons.

City Police officials said that providing power backup for signals either in the form of UPS or solar power was an ongoing process and efforts are on to enhance the power backup for UPS batteries as well as to have solar power panels.

Until then the police are having adequate strength to man the signals, an official pointed on conditions of anonymity.

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