Town Hill closed for repairs

2010-05-12 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG motorists should brace themselves for a week of possible traffic congestion and delays next week when a section of the N3 south will be closed for repairs during the day.

The regional manager of the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral), Gunyaziwe Makaula, said the southbound N3 highway would be closed to light motor vehicle traffic between Cedara and the Liberty Midlands Mall from 9 am till 3 pm from Monday May 17 to Friday May 21.

“Contractors will be completing the surface repairs to the middle lane of the southbound carriageway at the bottom of Town Hill. This area is a high-accident zone under normal conditions, so we feel it will be safer to close the highway in order to carry out this work.”

The Witness reported that three people were killed on the site in March when the sub-contractor, Phambili Road Surfacing, was carrying out the resurfacing at night. Two road workers were killed in two separate accidents when trucks smashed into the construction site. The third person was the driver of one of the trucks (The Witness March 10, 2010).

Road Traffic Inspectorate director John Schnell said the decision to complete the repairs to the highway during the day was a joint decision by all the role players involved. “When the tragic accidents were analysed, we weighed the inconvenience to motorists and the impact on the economy of closing the highway during the day against completing the work at night, which is the least disruptive, but most unsafe. We are sensitive to the cost implications of this choice but it was a unanimous decision of all those involved.”

Questioned about why the work had been allowed to go ahead at night originally, Schnell said: “… it is common international practice to carry out road repairs at night when they are least disruptive to traffic. This applies particularly in areas where the topography is flat, forward visibility is good and drivers are more mature and safer. It did not work this time.”

Makaula explained that light motor vehicle traffic will be diverted off the N3 at Cedara and directed down Old Howick Road. To get back onto the N3 south, drivers will have to go via Old Howick Road or Montgomery Drive and Town Bush Valley Road into Armitage Road and onto the highway at the Midlands Mall.

Heavy vehicles will be stacked on the N3 at Hilton first, and then at Cedara, and escorted in batches by Road Traffic Inspectorate patrol vehicles past the construction works to the bottom of Town Hill.

“In order to control the traffic and accommodate all affected parties with the least amount of inconvenience and confusion, the Provincial Road Traffic Authority, uMngeni Municipality Traffic and Msunduzi Municipality Traffic, will all be involved,” Makaula said.

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