Emergency N3 closure causes havoc

2009-12-09 00:00

AS temperatures soared to a clammy 37oC yesterday, traffic backed up on the N3 south from Market Road, for several kilometres, even as far as the Liberty Midlands Mall.

When a thunderstorm struck at rush hour, traffic slowed even further, causing delays of up to two hours.

A spokesman for the regional branch of the national roads agency, Sanral, said emergency repairs had to be done to the N3 southbound before schools close tomorrow and before the end-of-year construction shutdown on Friday and closure of the the asphalt plant.

The highway narrowed to only one lane after the slow and middle lanes between Market Road and Ashburton were closed. A 500 metre section of the middle lane in the Market Road area was resurfaced.

“This work was planned as night work, but due to the extensive rains experienced recently, this has not been possible. It is now critical that this work be undertaken,” the spokesman said.

The southbound carriageway of the N3 was closed to light motor vehicles at New England Road where they were diverted to the R103 and fed back on to the N3 at Ashburton. Heavy vehicles were queueing before New England Road and allowed through the construction stretch periodically.

It took a local motorist driving from the city centre to Pelham an hour and forty minutes to drive home, a route that normally takes just 10 minutes.

Irene Dougmore said the combination of the detour and the storm made the situation unbearable.

“We were all in that jam for nearly two hours,” she said.

— Witness Reporter.

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