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Positive Steps in Harare's Street Lighting Rehabilitation
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Positive Steps in Harare's Street Lighting Rehabilitation

The City of Harare has recently launched a significant project aimed at revamping its street lighting infrastructure, a move set to bring about notable improvements in the city's overall safety and functionality. This initiative, funded by the Government, involves replacing old, vandalized street lights with new, smart technology-enabled LED systems. The local contractor, Ship Tracks (Private) Limited, is spearheading the installation of these lights on Third Street, Fifth Street, and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, marking a substantial step towards modernizing Harare's urban infrastructure.

The absence of functioning street lights poses numerous problems, affecting both the city's residents and its overall economic activities. 

Benefits of the New Street Lighting System

The introduction of smart LED street lights in Harare brings numerous benefits, enhancing both safety and functionality. Key advantages include:

  1. Enhanced Public Safety: Improved lighting deters criminal activities, making streets safer for residents and visitors alike. Well-lit areas are less attractive to criminals, contributing to a reduction in crime rates.
  2. Improved Road Safety: Enhanced visibility on roads reduces the likelihood of traffic accidents. Drivers can navigate more safely, and pedestrians can cross streets with greater confidence, contributing to overall road safety.
  3. Economic Boost: Better-lit streets encourage more evening activities, boosting local businesses and increasing economic activity. Shoppers and diners feel safer, leading to extended business hours and a more vibrant night-time economy.
  4. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings: LED lights are more energy-efficient compared to traditional lighting systems. They consume less power and have a longer lifespan, resulting in significant cost savings for the city. The use of aluminium cables instead of copper also reduces the risk of theft, ensuring the sustainability of the lighting infrastructure.
  5. Smart Technology Integration: The new lighting system features smart technology, allowing remote control and monitoring from the Town House. This includes the ability to adjust brightness based on traffic conditions, enhancing energy efficiency. Operators can identify malfunctioning lights quickly, ensuring timely repairs and consistent performance.

Project Implementation and Future Prospects

The project involves replacing old poles, some of which are unable to support the weight of the new lights due to structural damage. The new poles, standing at 10 meters high, are designed to support the LED luminaires, which range between 160 to 200 watts. This is an upgrade from the previous fittings of 70 to 200 watts, ensuring brighter and more reliable lighting.

In addition to installing new lights, the project addresses the issue of vandalism by replacing copper cables with aluminium ones. This reduces theft and ensures a more stable and durable infrastructure. The smart lighting system's integration with a GSM control mechanism allows for real-time adjustments and monitoring, making maintenance more efficient and effective.

By leveraging smart technology and modern lighting solutions, Harare is taking significant steps towards becoming a safer and more vibrant urban centre. This initiative addresses the immediate needs of the city's residents and sets the foundation for future urban development, positioning Harare as a forward-thinking and resilient city.