Holiday gridlocks hit city

2007-12-19 00:00

While it should be the season to be merry, many motorists around the capital are seething as they sit in gridlocked traffic, frustrated by long queues of cars that seem to barely move.

In the Pietermaritzburg inter-city, the area around the Liberty Midlands Mall has been one of the most congested.

Kenneth Chetty, the acting manager of Public Safety at the Msunduzi Municipality, said that 50 officers are on the streets assisting with congestion in and around the city.

Chetty attributed much of the congestion in the past few weeks to the upgrading of traffic lights in different parts of the city.

"We don’t want people to think we are not doing our jobs. It just so happened that the upgrade coincided with the Christmas rush, but we have traffic officers in the morning and afternoon rush hours assisting with traffic control. We want to ask motorists to bear with us and assist by taking alternative routes where possible."

Areas to avoid include Slatter Road and Pietermaritz Street, where the minibuses parked in no-parking areas are disturbing the traffic flow.

Most of the CBD, mainly Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Road, Boshoff Street and Chota Motala (Greytown) Road, are experiencing robot synchronisation problems.

However, traffic officers are assisting with traffic control between 3 and 6 pm, Chetty said. "The strategy this year is all about visible policing, which is why we have roadblocks for drunk driving and officers patrolling different areas."

According to Chetty, illegal metered taxi drivers have also been a problem. Over 200 pirate metered taxi drivers have been prosecuted for driving without permits or drivers’ licences.

"We want to make it clear that there will be zero tolerance. We expect total compliance and will do everything possible to ensure that," said Chetty.

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