Milchbuck 16-9

Interim review of the major project Control Unit Replacement.

Since 2019, cablex has been handling the project "Control Unit Replacement" in the region of Zurich. It includes the replacement of around 220 control units and the associated traffic lights, of which there are around 2800. The project, which was commissioned by Yunex Traffic on behalf of the Zurich Department of Transport (DAV), will run until the beginning of 2025, so now is a good time for an interim review. 

Carolin Rabea Primerova 1-1
Author Carolin Rabea Primerova

Assembly of the installation at the Milchbucktunnel.

"The schedule is relatively tight - but we'll manage it!"

It is 10 p.m. and there is still heavy traffic on Wasserwerkstrasse before the Milchbuck tunnel. The traffic junction is very busy. At the intersection in front of the two tunnel tubes, vehicles get in line to travel towards the city centre and the main train station, towards the airport and also out of the city towards Winterthur. Several traffic controllers ensure the safety of road users and the cablex technicians during the night, because during the work the traffic signals and lights are out of operation.  

As soon as the work starts at night, a big hourglass seems to be running. Project manager Stefan Kümin calls his team together once more before starting work. The schedule and assignment of duties are discussed one last time and then the work starts. The installation team of the Traffic Technology unit only has a few hours to replace the traffic light system. Everything has to be ready at 3.30 am. When rush hour starts in the morning, the old parts of the system will have to have been dismantled and the new system ready for handling traffic after being tested. To ensure this tight schedule can be complied with, the planning must be precise. This requires good preparation and a clear assignment of duties. 

We asked Stefan Kümin what lessons he can draw so far from the first major project for the Traffic Technology unit. 

How many traffic lights and control units have you replaced so far?

130 traffic signal systems with approximately 1700 traffic lights have already been replaced.

What experience did you gain from this project that will convince customers to place their orders with cablex?

First and foremost, we can demonstrate convincing experience, which we have been able to expand even further through project management. Another argument in favour of cablex is that we were able to educate and train our employees during the project. The work performance they will be able to deliver in all future projects meets the high quality standards of cablex and sets us apart from other providers. 

Quote Daniel Bärtsch, Yunex Traffic.

"The weekly replacement of the light signal systems demanded clear planning and consistent implementation. I am delighted that we also have cablex as a reliable partner in this project, which embodies the same quality standards as Yunex Traffic. The replacement of the light signal system at busy junctions in the centre of Zurich is a real challenge that Yunex Traffic masters with the support of cablex, and for which the team also receives positive feedback regularly from the end customer, the DAV of the city of Zurich."  

How do we meet the requirements of the customer, Yunex Traffic, in this project?

cablex stands for high quality standards and the willingness to develop constantly. The Traffic Technology team has also developed itself further through this project, because we are continuously asking ourselves: "What's the next step?" The positive feedback from our customer, Yunex Traffic, and the successful progress of the project "Control Unit Replacement - City of Zurich" prove that we are on the right track with this strategy. The quality and efficiency of the work carried out are also supported by the use of professional equipment, for example a lifting platform, a transporter or a crane vehicle. And the customer also benefits from this. 

When you think back to the beginning of the project and look at how you work today: What's changed?

Efficiency has increased significantly. The equipment was obtained according to the customer's specifications and aligned with the project requirements. The Traffic Technology team has grown with the challenges and we have been able to steadily expand our expertise and specialized knowledge. The "moves" are in place and we can realise the replacement of large and complex systems in a time frame that would have been difficult to manage at the beginning. 

Giulio Panzera, Head of Sales Infrastructure, is proud of the expertise of the Traffic Technology unit and the trusting cooperation with Yunex Traffic: 

"Our traffic technology specialists have successfully replaced 130 traffic signal systems in the centre of Zurich on schedule over the last three years. We can rely on an experienced, highly qualified team in the traffic technology segment. In this way, we can meet the high quality standards and deadline expectations of Yunex Traffic thanks to precise planning and preparation as well as the perfectly organised deployment of our skilled workers." 

Does cablex carry out this work with its own employees, or does it require the support of external companies?

We are proud of our trained technicians, who can implement such projects. Depending on the workload, we supported the team with one or two temporary employees. This keeps the knowledge gained within the company and ensures the customer receives identical work results at all times. 

How extensive are the work preparations for a traffic hub like the MiBuTu, the Milchbucktunnel?

Traffic signal systems that interface with a tunnel and the tunnel control system also affect the canton or the motorway. This makes the replacement more complex than that of a system in an urban environment. In this specific case, we had to check and partially replace cables, fastenings and manhole covers beforehand. Here, the demands on our work are even higher. Good preparation is therefore essential for successful completion. 

What percentage of the Traffic Technology unit's workload is taken up by this project?

The project gives the unit a good base workload. In addition to the project in the city of Zurich, we are also active at the cantonal level in Zurich and Aargau.  

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