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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Gambia gets first green light
Banjul
The lights are on the road linking Gambia's two main cities
By Ebraima Sillah in Banjul

There was euphoria and jubilation in the Gambia's biggest town of Serrekunda on Tuesday when early morning commuters to Banjul saw for the first time a traffic light system on one of the busiest roads in the country.

The traffic light project worth over $30,000 (US) has been provided by Shell Marketing Gambia Limited.


The project - the first of its kind in the history of the Gambia comes at a time of increasing road traffic accidents at busy junctions in the country.

Shell's installation manager Lang Konteh describes the traffic light project as his company's contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.

He said "as good corporate members of the society, this initiative is in line with our commitment to health, safety and environment".


This is a relief to some of us because we no longer have to stand under the blazing sun or in the rain to guide motorists

Traffic policeman
The police public relations officer, Inspector Abdoulie Sanyang, said the police welcome Shell's initiative in reducing road accidents.

Inspector Sanyang said that with the introduction of the traffic lights on Kairaba Avenue, one of the busiest roads in the Gambia, there will be less demand on the police in directing traffic.

He said "this will help us to concentrate on the prevention of crime in areas where we are needed most".

A police officer who used to direct traffic at the junction where the traffic lights are built remarked: "This is a relief to some of us because we no longer have to stand under the blazing sun or in the rain to guide motorists".

Excitement

Public reaction to the new traffic lights is one of excitement.

It is hoped that it will lead to the orderly flow of traffic and minimise the risk of police officers being knocked down by motorists.

However because of the high level of illiteracy in the country and the low level of awareness among many motorists about how the traffic facility works, there is public anxiety about whether new traffic lights could in fact be a solution to the Gambia's numerous road accidents.

A task force has been set-up to sensitise motorists and the general public about the effective use of the traffic lights.

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13 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Gambia's future hopes
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