Busy traffic conditions are expected on the N3 Toll Route as South Africans are gearing to travel this the long weekend

With the country now on a less restrictive Adjusted Alert Level 2 lockdown, all indications are that local holidaymakers are gearing to travel across provinces to the country’s various tourism destinations. “This will, of course, result in busy traffic conditions on most of the country’s major highways, including the N3 Toll Route,” warns Thania Dhoogra, operations manager of N3TC.

N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), manages the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a key tourism link to Mpumalanga, the Free State, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains, as well as the Midlands and many coastal towns of KwaZulu-Natal.

Although N3TC and its road safety partners are ready to welcome the expected influx of visitors, they advise leisure travellers to familiarise themselves with the route and prevailing travel conditions ahead of their departures.

“Road users who are well-prepared and informed are far more likely to enjoy safe and pleasant travel experiences. Drivers who plan ahead are better able to navigate the burdens of peak traffic conditions, as they are less likely to experience frustrations or unexpected set-backs. They are generally perceived to be safer drivers,” explains Ms Dhoogra.

Emergency services and law enforcement will be on standby throughout the weekend

“Travellers should expect visible policing, strict law enforcement and zero tolerance of traffic offenders on the N3 Toll Route. The entire multi-disciplinary road incident management team will be out in full force operating satellite stations and joint traffic checkpoints at key locations along the route,” says Ms Dhoogra.

“Private, provincial and community medical services have also joined forces and will be stationed at strategic points to provide ground- and air support, if required, during emergency situations in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. Additional towing and recovery services will also be deployed on peak days to assist stranded road users.”

Peak Traffic Forecast

High traffic volumes are expected southbound towards KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, 23 September from 12h00 – 18hh00 and Friday, 24 September from 06h00 – 12h00. Traffic volumes are expected to increase again on Sunday, 26 September in a northbound direction towards Gauteng when the majority of holidaymakers will return to Gauteng. Volumes will increase from 06h00 and are expected to remain high throughout the day until approximately 18h00.

Weather Forecast

The current weather forecast for the N3 Toll Route is favourable, but conditions may change rapidly. Parts of the N3 are prone to sudden gusts or high winds, and mist, rain or thunderstorms.

Beware of veld fires

Most of the rural landscapes along the N3 are still very dry and can easily be set alight, causing runaway veld fires, thick smoke and dangerous travel conditions. Road users are requested to take every precaution to prevent fires, and to immediately report any smoke or fires to the N3 Helpline on 0800 63 43 57.

Road construction, upgrades and maintenance work 

Construction activities on the N3 Toll Route will cease during the long weekend, and will only resume on Monday, 27 September 2021. Apart from some lane closures that will remain in effect in certain construction zones (as indicated below), the rest of the route will have at least two lanes open to traffic in both directions for the duration of the long weekend.

Construction between Villiers and Warden 

  • Lane restriction near Grootspruit Bridge (N3-9 km 18)

An approximately 400m section of the N3 will be closed near Grootspruit Bridge.

On 23 and 24 September TWO LANES will be OPEN SOUTHBOUND (towards Durban), whilst northbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane.

On 26 September TWO LANES will be OPEN NORTHBOUND (towards Johannesburg), whilst southbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane.

  • Lane restriction near Holspruit Bridge (N3-9 km 1)

An approximate 300m section of the N3 will be closed near Holspruit Bridge.

On 23 and 24 September TWO LANES will be OPEN SOUTHBOUND (towards Durban), whilst northbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane.

On 26 September TWO LANES will be OPEN NORTHBOUND (towards Johannesburg), whilst southbound traffic will be restricted to a single lane.

“The above restrictions are unavoidable due to long term bridge works,” explains Ms Dhoogra. “We request road users to remain cautious and to please be especially patient along these sections.”

Construction on Van Reenen’s Pass

No construction closures will be in place from 23 – 26 September. All lanes will be available to traffic in both directions.

Construction between Frere and Midway

A future climbing lane is currently being built southbound near the Wagendrift Dam (N3-5 ± km 15S). Construction work in this section will cease around 12h00 on Thursday, 23 September. Two lanes will be OPEN to traffic, but manned entry and exit points (via the median, into the climbing lane) for construction vehicles will remain in effect. Road users may experience some delays as a result of slow-moving construction vehicles.

On the N3 Toll Route, road users can obtain real-time traffic information, report problems or get emergency assistance by contacting the 24-hour N3 Helpline on 0800 63 43 57, or by sending a message to @N3Route on Twitter.

“N3TC wishes all road users a safe and enjoyable holiday. Please ensure that your vehicles are roadworthy and in good mechanical order. Please stay alert and share the road responsibly, especially when travel conditions are demanding, and always remember to take regular rest stops,” ends Thania Dhoogra.