N3 TOLL ROUTE – An exodus of travellers expected on our roads this long weekend
With South African schools closing on Wednesday, 23 September for the Heritage Day long weekend, and many businesses following suit, the N3 Toll Route is expected to experience high traffic volumes as travellers make use of this opportunity to take their first holiday break this year.
“While N3 Toll Concession (N3TC), the company managing the N3 Toll Route, is geared to welcome leisure travellers back to the route, we recommend all road users carefully plan their trips,” says the concessionaire’s commercial manager, Con Roux.
“Long distance journeys, especially at peak times, could place additional strain on motorists as roads become congested and delays are the order of the day.”
The N3 Toll Route connects the many tourism destinations of the N3 Gateway region, from Gauteng to Mpumalanga, the eastern and southern Free State, the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the port of Durban and coastal towns along the Indian ocean.
Construction progress impacted on by Covid-19
This strategic transport route was also affected by the national state of disaster when it had to temporarily suspend its major road rehabilitation and construction projects during Level 5 of the Covid-19 lockdown. Construction teams now have to pull out all stops to make up for lost time.
“Although N3TC does everything within its power to minimise traffic disruptions at peak times, road users should prepare for slow moving traffic and congestion at construction sites,” warns Roux.
Lane closures and restrictions remain in place at construction sites
During the upcoming long weekend, road works will be limited to absolutely essential maintenance work, but lane closures will have to remain in place at construction sites. “We have no other alternative but to push ahead with the construction programme in order to be ready for the December peak traffic season,” explains Roux.
Current construction sites on the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg and Cedara:
- Villiers to Warden
- Frere (R74) to Midway
- Van Reenen’s Pass
- Mooi River to Howick
Isolated lane closures are predominantly in place in a southbound direction, towards Durban. However, two northbound lanes, towards Gauteng, will be open to traffic on Sunday, 27 September.
Road users are advised to be prepared for possible delays
“We strongly appeal to weekend travellers to carefully plan ahead, and to remain patient when travel conditions become demanding.”
Stress, impatience, frustration and tiredness impact on road safety. It may cause drivers to lose focus and concentration, to become distracted or even negligent, and to take unnecessary risks. From traffic and crash data gathered over many years on the N3 Toll Route, it is clear that the majority of crashes are caused by human error, whether it is negligent driving, lack of concentration, ignoring warnings and/or a disregard for basic safety measures.
Expected peak times
The grid below provides an overview of expected traffic volumes along the N3 Toll Route over this coming long weekend. It is recommended to travel outside of peak traffic periods, but if these periods cannot be avoided, motorists are encouraged to plan for congestion and to expect possible delays.
GREEN: Light to slight increase in volumes < 800 vehicles per hour (vph) in a particular peak direction
YELLOW: Busy traffic conditions with 800 – 1500 vehicles per hour (vph) in a particular peak direction
RED: Heavy (high) traffic volumes (with slow-moving conditions) > 1500 vehicles per hour (vph) in a particular direction
SB: Southbound towards KwaZulu-Natal
NB: Northbound towards Gauteng
Stay alert and informed
N3TC operates a Route Control Centre (RCC) along the N3 Toll Route where all information regarding road conditions, incidents, weather, traffic and other travel alerts for the N3 Route are received. Vital information and early warnings are disseminated from this central communication hub via a 24-hour helpline and other media platforms. Road users can obtain essential information or report problems on the route to the N3TC helpline on 0800 63 4357 or by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route.
“N3TC wishes you safe travels and an enjoyable, well-earned break. Please drive responsibly,” ends Roux.