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Dead hard disk wreaks havoc on Melbourne

A failed hard-disk at a traffic control centre wreaked havoc on Melbourne streets this morning. Around 30 sets of traffic lights stopped working when the hard-disk failed.
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Written by Patrick Gray on
A failed hard-disk at a traffic control centre wreaked havoc on Melbourne streets this morning.

Around 30 sets of traffic lights stopped working when the hard-disk failed. The disk was a vital component of Vicroad's SCATS system, which is designed to allow for the remote control of traffic lights from a central location. According to Vicroad's traffic management centre's acting manager, Keith Weegderg, all signals are back up and running independently, however remote control of the lights will not be restored until around 1pm today. The lights were manually switched over into a "stand-alone" mode by technicians gradually this morning, however that process in itself presented some challenges, Weegderg said.

"They were stuck in the traffic like everyone else as well so it took them some time to get to them," he told ZDNet Australia.

The remote-control system is nothing new, Weegderg said.

"We've had the SCATS system in Melbourne for 20 odd years," he explained. "It provides linking between successive sets of signals so that when there's event... we can change the timings of signals remotely."

Weegderg said he was unaware if further redundancy would be built into the system in the future, but that an investigation is taking place.

"This failure is quite an unusual one... we'll have a look at it and determine the follow up actions for it," he said.

Initial reports suggested the outage could have lasted for up to two days.

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