Traffic jams and delays as repairs begin on the N3

2010-05-18 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG motorists had it tough yesterday morning as a week of traffic congestion and delays began for repairs of part of the N3 freeway.

Cars were diverted off the N3 at the Cedara off-ramp, with the detour taking them through Hilton, down Old Howick Road and back on to the N3 near the Liberty Midlands Mall.

Trucks were stacked at Hilton and allowed through the construction site one at a time.

The Witness reported in March the death of two road workers and a truck driver after two accidents on that part of the road while roadworks took place at night.

After the accidents, Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) boss John Schnell reportedly said a joint decision was taken by all the roleplayers to complete the repairs to the highway during the day, starting yesterday.

Gunyaziwe Makaula,the regional manager of Sanral, the national roads agency, said the stretch will be closed between 9 am to 3 pm for the duration of the project.

“Working at night has always been the norm,” said Makaula.

“The problem with the Town Hill area is that it is a high-accident zone, and although law enforcers are visible, once they leave the area motorists start bending the rules of the road.”

Yesterday afternoon RTI spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said the operation was running smoothly.

TWO cars hit a pothole on the diversion route of Old Howick Road and had tyre blow-outs yesterday morning.

Heather Macfarlane of Hilton said she was forced to veer slightly to the left of the lane to avoid a car travelling fast up from town that swerved into her lane.

She hit a pothole of a metre long and about 25 cm deep near the corner of World’s View and Old Howick roads.

Her front left tyre burst.

While she phoned for her car to be towed away, another woman also travelling to town hit the same pothole.

“She buckled her wheel rim and burst her tyre …” said Macfarlane in a letter to The Witness.

“These two incidents highlight the unnecessary mayhem that potholes cause on our roads.”

Sanral’s Gunyaziwe Makaula said he will report the pothole to the Transport Department to be repaired.

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