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At the start of another long weekend in South Africa, N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) makes an urgent appeal to road users to not drive (or park) in emergency lanes. It is illegal and dangerous to drive in the emergency lane. The only time you are permitted to move your vehicle into an emergency lane is when there is a bona fide emergency.

N3TC manages the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal.

A recent incident on the N3 Toll Route, where a truck jack-knifed and blocked the road near Mooi River, prompted N3TC to make this urgent call.

“Traffic came to a complete standstill at the scene where the truck jack-knifed. The problem was exacerbated when impatient road users moved into the emergency lanes and prevented emergency services from gaining access to the crash scene to provide medical assistance, regulate traffic, recover the vehicle, clear the scene and restore normal traffic flow,” explains N3TC’s commercial manager, Con Roux.

The National Road Traffic Act clearly prohibits vehicles driving in the emergency lane and/or using the lane to the left of the yellow line as a passing lane.

“With peak traffic conditions being expected again this long weekend, we are concerned that road users, who act with impunity, may jeopardise road safety, prevent the delivery of urgent medical services and inconvenience thousands of law-abiding road users by extending traffic delays,” says Roux.

“During the incident earlier this week, emergency services could not reach the scene using the emergency lanes. Service vehicles and traffic authorities had to use alternative routes to reach the crash scene, delaying recovery time,” explains Roux.

Peak traffic conditions may cause delays and place an additional burden on authorities, traffic resources and road users.

“Significant resources are in place on the N3 Toll Route to manage traffic flow and provide emergency services, but road users need to also play their part by obeying the law to help us ensure an optimal and safe travel experience for all,” ends Roux.

EXPECTED PEAK TIMES ON THE N3 TOLL ROUTE

Southbound (towards KwaZulu-Natal)

  • Wednesday, 26 April – 14:00 to 00:00
  • Thursday, 27 April – 05:00 – 15:00

Northbound (towards Gauteng)

  • Monday, 01 May – 09:00 – 21:00

“If at all possible, it is strongly recommended that road users travel outside of peak periods, and if they are going to be on the road at peak times, we advise them to obtain advance traffic information and to be prepared for unexpected delays,” says Roux.

“Keep in mind that congestion often occurs on the Van Reenen’s Pass section of the N3 Toll Route. Around 1700 vehicles per hour can safely be accommodated on Van Reenen’s Pass at any given time. Should it be required, traffic authorities will manage traffic flow towards Gauteng by the closure of toll lanes at the Tugela Plaza to ensure safety along the Pass. Heavy vehicles are to keep left and may not, by law, overtake on sections of Van Reenen’s Pass,” ends Roux.

All N3TC toll plazas will be operating at maximum capacity and no construction will be undertaken during the long weekend. If required, remedial work will only be performed where absolutely necessary.

Obtain advance traffic information

Drivers are advised to plan their trips ahead by obtaining relevant and up-to-date traffic information on the N3 Toll Route by contacting the 24-hour N3TC Helpline on 0800 63 4357 (0800 N3 HELP) or by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route. Any problems along the N3 Route can also be reported to the N3TC Helpline number