Highway to nowhere fast

2013-06-15 00:00

THE trip from Pietermaritzburg to Durban — normally about a 45-minute drive at the legal limit — would have felt more like a cross-country journey for most yesterday as road construction, heavy holiday traffic and accidents on the N3 combined to create a marathon trip of over two hours in some cases.

The chaos started with an accident at Ashburton in the morning, when a truck rear-ended a bakkie.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said: “The truck climbed a bank and the trailer fell over the bakkie, leading to the road being closed from 7.30 am to midday.”

The resulting traffic jam stretched from Ashburton all the way to Howick. Traffic piled up until the R617 off-ramp near Howick, and in Pietermaritzburg there were jams in the CBD and on Washington Road.

Later there were delays between Howick and Town Hill after a truck in the north-bound carriageway caught fire, while an accident involving a number of vehicles close to the Marrianhill toll plaza ensured that there would be no respite even on Durban’s outskirts.

Roadworks at Peacevale and at other spots along the N3 meant that once the accident scenes were cleared, there was still no end to the slow-moving traffic.

Those in manual vehicles rarely got out of second gear while the traffic moved at a maximum speed of 30 km/h for kilometres.

Motorist Graydon Sinkins, who was on his way to a fishing holiday on the South Coast, cancelled the trip after spending more than two hours in traffic.

“I was stuck for two hours between New England Road and the Market Road off-ramp. I then decided to go back home.”

Alex Mkhize said he had called his boss in Durban to say that he was stuck in the traffic and would be late.

“At 11 I decided to just go back to Pietermaritzburg after seeing that the traffic was not clearing on the N3.”

Mngomezulu added that because of the long weekend, traffic had started building up during the day, with more than 1 300 cars an hour passing Mooi River by the afternoon.

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