Solar-powered cat’s eyes concern


In a way it could be said that a failure has highlighted a success when it comes to the solar-powered cat’s eyes or road studs along Ou Kaapse Weg.

The Echo was alerted to the failure of a significant number of the solar-powered cat’s eyes on that road with concerns about night-time safety.

However, Brett Herron, City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport, had a different perspective.

“It seems from your query that the solar-powered studs made such a positive impression and difference since they were first installed that the failure of some of these units has created the wrong impression that we do no longer have the retro-reflective studs along Ou Kaapse Weg,” he said.

Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, installed the solar-powered cat eyes along Ou Kaapse Weg, Noordhoek Main Road and Main Road in Glencairn as part of a pilot project in June last year.

“Given that these solar-powered steady light emitting road studs were installed as a pilot project, they were spaced be-tween the existing retro-reflective studs, thus never compromising safety in the case of failure,” he said.

He pointed out that solar-powered road studs did not function to their full capacity when there had been insufficient sunlight (solar power) for a number of days.

Mr Herron said that the solar-powered road studs cost approximately R170 each.

Asked about how sturdy the solar road studs were and how long they lasted, Mr Herron said that the very purpose of the pilot project was to determine the durability and functioning of the solar-powered road studs, as well as their suitability to our road conditions in terms of traffic volume and the weather in general.

“We do not know at this stage what is causing some of the solar-powered road studs to default and we have been in contact with the supplier of the units to assist us.

“We will replace the defective solar-powered road studs when we have ascertained what has caused the malfunctioning,” he said.

Mr Herron emphasised that the City had never removed the standard retro-reflective studs along Ou Kaapse Weg and these should still assist road users in poor light conditions.