Motorists stuck in traffic for hours after N3 truck crash

2018-04-04 13:45
The scene of the crash on the N3 northbound after the Peter Brown on ramp on Tuesday.

The scene of the crash on the N3 northbound after the Peter Brown on ramp on Tuesday.

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A fiery crash on the N3 at Town Hill o Tuesday caused major traffic backlogs all the way out to the New England Road off-ramp on the N3 and along many other arterial roads in the city.

A truck driver travelling down Town Hill towards Durban allegedly lost control and drove over the median onto the northbound carriageway into oncoming traffic.

As the truck broke through the median’s barrier, its tyres and axles came off before it hit another truck and came to a rest near the bank just after the Peter Brown turn-off.

The truck then caught alight, leaving nothing but a burned shell once Pietermaritzburg firefighters managed to douse the flames.

It had been carrying a load of frozen potato chips, which spilled across the road during the crash.

Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said the driver was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

She said the accident caused a two-hour delay for motorists using the N3 northbound.

In an effort to ease the congestion, traffic was redirected through the city and its roads became gridlocked with cars trying to get onto the N3.

Joey Govender of Joey’s Towing said at 4.30 pm on Tuesday that they had managed to clear two lanes of the northbound carriageway but expected the clean-up to take another hour or two because of the oil on the road from the truck and the cargo.

Mngomezulu said there was still a backlog of traffic for one kilometre because of the clean-up during peak traffic time on Tuesday afternoon.

Govender added that traffic in the city had been gridlocked for most of the day due to the normal Pietermaritzburg traffic, the backlog on the N3 and holiday-makers who were returning home.

Many people had postponed their trips on Monday due to the protests at the Mooi River toll plaza and had started their journey home on Tuesday morning, he said.

Gridlocked traffic at the Athlone circle as motorists avoid the N3, opting for alternative routes that soon also became gridlocked.

Govender said there were also many cars that had broken down while waiting in the traffic and tow trucks had to cart vehicles off the already congested freeway.

Annoyed locals and motorists voiced their frustrations on The Witness Facebook page on Tuesday.

“Took us an hour and 20 minutes to get from Chapel Street, via Taunton Road, via Athlone Circle, via Old Howick Road to Hilton this morning. It’s madness,” posted Rosalyn Kloka.

“Just burnt out my clutch sitting in the traffic going up Taunton Road,” posted another user, Shan Bronwen Ford.

Lona Sander said her 104-km drive from Amamzintoti toward Town Hill took her four hours due to the backlog in traffic.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  truck accident

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