Gridlocked: On-ramp closure jams inner city

2012-04-07 00:00

CLOSE to 1 700 cars per hour were passing through the Mooi River tollgate heading to Durban by yesterday afternoon.

Rajen Chinaboo of RTI said they were counting about 889 cars passing through the Mooi River tollgate heading to Johannesburg and about 1 650 cars heading to Durban, with traffic expected to peak at around 2 000 cars. Due to road closures on a section of the N3 near the construction on the Chota Motala interchange, a large volume of traffic was diverted through the city centre.

Among the sections of the N3 that were temporarily closed was the Sanctuary Road on ramp from Midlands Liberty Mall, which closed to traffic wanting to join the N3 Durban bound from midday yesterday till 6 pm today.

One driver, who asked not to be named, related how after an hour of queueing to get out of the Liberty Mall, a woman got out of her car to yell at him for cutting in. “I was so taken aback at her rudeness, especially having just been let into the main queue by a more courteous driver,”he said.

The on ramp from Chota Motala Road (Church Street) will be closed to traffic wanting to join the N3 north bound from midday on Sunday April 8 to 6 pm on Monday April 9.

Traffic wanting to access the N3 to the north and Liberty Midlands Mall will be diverted to the city centre then right on to Boshoff Street.

Detour markers will be set up to direct motorists to their destinations.

By midday yesterday, the Pietermaritzburg city centre was jammed with drivers complaining that it was taking them over 45 minutes just to get through town.

An Msunduzi traffic official said, “All the traffic is being diverted at Chatterton, then through town and then back on the freeway.”

Bradley Naidoo of Group Five said they closed the Sanctuary Road on ramp from Midlands Liberty Mall as they anticipated large traffic volumes coming from the Johannesburg area, “and if we have traffic merging, it could cause a backlog and an accident”.

Zinhle Mngomezulu of RTI warned that their officials were out in full force. “We are using the integrated law enforcement plan which not only involves the officers from the RTI but also the police and the municipalities.” Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele issued a stern warning to motorists to exercise maximum caution and observe the rules of the road.

• thamsanqam@witness

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