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N3 repairs near Peter Brown bridge could be completed by the festive season

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The South African National Roads Agency said the N3 repair between Sanctuary and Link Road at Townhill near Pietermaritzburg could be completed by December.

The repair is estimated to cost around R340-million.

Tsepo Matekane, N3 Programme Manager for SANRAL said the re-construction on the slow lanes at the Peter Brown bridge is forging ahead and will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

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Apart from resolving chronic traffic congestion by creating greater mobility through construction of additional traffic lanes, the upgrading of the N3 will result in increased safety.

“Dangerous curves will be ironed out. Unsafe intersections will be redesigned.”

Speaking about recent accidents that have taken place in the vicinity of Peter Brown/ Townhill, SANRAL said it has employed safety measures that go far beyond just legal or contractual compliance.

“The advanced high-visibility warning and speed restriction signage require heavy vehicles to travel at not more than 40km/hr within the construction zone.

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“Apart from these restrictions, it is also mandatory for all heavy vehicles to undergo a compulsory stop before proceeding down the steep south-bound carriageway.

“It appears that trucks were not abiding by the signage posted.”

Matekane said SANRAL has engaged the relevant traffic authorities regarding enforcement, which is now being provided on a 24-hour basis by the RTIA.

“Other measures include installation of temporary lighting at the compulsory stop and on the southbound carriageway, curve widening at the bottom of southbound carriageway, a dedicated boom operation at the compulsory stop and traffic cameras.”

Speaking about daily traffic volumes Matekane said that SANRAL tries to leave the construction sites drivable to make it easy for the traffic to flow freely and motorists to get to their destinations with as little disruption as possible.

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“There will be no Stop/Go or road closures due to construction on the N3 over the festive season. The contractor’s programme for the repair between Sanctuary Interchange and Link Road indicates that the work could be completed by the annual shutdown period in December.”

However, emergency workers have cautioned drivers to decrease their speed limit and to follow a safe following distance following a number of crashes in the vicinity.

According to Shawn Herbst from Netcare 911 for them in particular, they have noticed in the past seven months, there has been a rapid increase of collisions,

“And it’s not just big trucks that’s involved. (It’s) taxis and light motor vehicles.

“We find that trucks are not stopping at the arrestor bed before the Peter Brown offramp to engage lower gears to come down.“

Robert Mckenzie from KZN Emergency Medical Services said recently they have been responding to truck crashes in the Peter Brown vicinity in the KZN Midlands area.

“In general we want to remind motorists to drive carefully and not exceed the speed limit and to increase their following distances.”

Some of the crashes that have taken place:

May 2022:

Sixteen people perished in a deadly taxi crash on the N3 near Peter Brown. A 7-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a horror crash. His mother also died in the crash. Transport officials said a truck had initially overturned.

“As it was still awaiting to be removed from the freeway and as vehicles were travelling trying to divert from the overturned truck, a Toyota Quantum minibus went under the truck causing a chain reaction, which resulted in a nine-car pile up.”

June 2022:

On June 23, one person was killed in an accident involving a truck and four cars. According to Robert Mckenzie from KZN Emergency Medical Services one person sustained fatal injuries and two people minor injuries. “The crash did result in the total closure of the south-bound carriageway, and some lanes of the north bound have also been affected.”

June 2022:

A crash resulted in a fire on the N3 near Peter Brown. Shawn Herbst from Netcare 911 said they responded to reports of a collision that two trucks and a car were involved in a collision resulting in a fire. “It was alleged by other motorists who witnessed the incident that the truck that slammed into the other truck and car was already alight before the collision.” One person was treated for serious injuries.

August 2022:

At the end of August, a runaway coal truck on the N3 near the Peter Brown offramp went viral. The man who filmed the accident described the scene as preventable.

He said he saw no sign of law-enforcement officers on the road.

He told Independent on Saturday that had law enforcers been present, and if the truck driver had jumped the queue, they could have stopped him. – IOL

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