UPDATE: Recovery operations begin as trucks blocking the N3 get towed

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  • Recovery teams have begun towing the trucks blocking the N3, near Van Reenen's Pass.
  • A number of drivers have been taken in for questioning.
  • It's alleged the drivers parked their trucks on the N3 and removed the keys.

Recovery teams have started towing the trucks that have been blocking the N3, near Van Reenen's Pass, causing congestion on Friday.

According to the N3 Toll Concession, the trucks were being towed out of the roadway, while spare keys for some of the trucks have been delivered to law enforcement officers in order to remove them . 

"The recovery process will take some time, where after the extensive backlog of traffic still has to be cleared," N3 Toll Concession's operations manager, Thania Dhoogra, said.

Road users are warned to continue to expect traffic disruptions along the route. 

Dhoogra added that they were expecting the current traffic congestion on the N3 Toll Route to last well into the night. 

"Traffic authorities are reporting that many roads in the region are also gridlocked as a result of today's total closure of the N3 Toll Route by the truckers. Road users are advised to remain extra vigilant, and to either delay their trips, or to prepare for slow moving traffic and delays. They are also reminded of the national curfew, which starts at midnight tonight until 04h00 tomorrow morning," she added.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said that a number of truck drivers had been taken in for questioning after their trucks were found parked across both lanes of the N3, near Van Reenen. 

"Police were able to locate the drivers and the keys for their vehicles. The trucks were removed and traffic was able to move, albeit very slowly," Naicker added.

On Friday morning, truck drivers barricaded the N3, near Van Reenen's Pass, leading to delays as all lanes were closed to traffic.

By afternoon, traffic was still at a standstill.

It is alleged that the truck drivers parked their vehicles on the road and, in most cases, removed the keys from the vehicles.

"At this stage, SAPS is at the scene and attempts are being made to remove the trucks. We are advising motorists to avoid using that route," Naicker added.

Traffic was diverted to alternate routes. 

WATCH | Extensive traffic delays on N3 as truck drivers barricade highway

Naicker said some drivers started moving their vehicles.

The N3 Toll Concession said in a statement late Friday afternoon that there was no indication as to when the blockading of Van Reenen's Pass would be resolved. 

"Extensive traffic backlogs are being reported in both directions from KwaZulu-Natal to the Free State. Traffic in the area remains at a standstill as all lanes remain closed."

The motive for the congestion is under investigation.

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