N3TC ROUTE UPDATE THIS HOLIDAY
N3TC ROUTE UPDATE THIS HOLIDAY
Plan for cold weather conditions this winter holiday
N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) advises travellers to consider weather conditions when planning their trips along the N3 Toll Route during the July school holiday. “It is highly recommended to monitor medium- and short term weather forecasts before you travel,” says Commercial Manager, Con Roux.
The N3 Toll Route traverses four provinces (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal) and weather conditions can change quickly, especially in the mountainous areas.
High winds and freezing temperatures may be experienced. Surface moisture and dew can freeze into black ice, making road conditions treacherous and slowing down progress. Along the N3 Toll Route, Van Reenen’s Pass between Harrismith and Ladysmith is prone to high winds, icy conditions and snow; and is constantly monitored by N3TC and associated Incident Management services to ensure emergency preparedness.
“Motorists should take extra care when driving at dawn or dusk or during the night. We strongly advise motorists rather to travel during day time, when temperatures are milder and visibility better,” says Roux.
“Furthermore, motorists are advised to be prepared for inclement weather, emergencies and delays, and to take additional measures to ensure their own safety. Have your vehicle inspected before you depart and travel with extra blankets, warm clothes, medicine, food and refreshments in your vehicle. Be prepared to heed travel warnings,” continues Roux.
The N3TC teams are on full alert and ready to deal with any emergency along the N3 Toll Route. Every attempt will be made to limit risks to lives and ensure general safety. Should it be required, and in the interest of safety, certain sections of the route may be closed to traffic if conditions are too dangerous and the area deemed inaccessible. “Emergency teams’ ability to address difficult situations and clear the route as quickly as possible, depends heavily on road users’ adherence to the emergency measures,” explains Roux.
The N3 Toll Route carries high traffic volumes with approximately 35% of traffic constituting heavy vehicles. An average of 58-million tons of freight is carried along this corridor per annum. At peak times, such as holiday periods, traffic volumes can increase to well over 2000 vehicles per hour, placing an additional burden on travelers and traffic management resources.
N3TC, as the concessionaire managing the Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal, continuously strives to improve the safety of road users travelling on the N3 Toll Route.
N3TC’s Route Patrol Service vehicles sweep the entire route regularly to clear objects and ensure the route is kept as safe as possible for all road users. Any objects, livestock or other hazards should immediately be reported to the N3TC 24/7 Customer Careline 0800 63 4357. These patrol teams also assist to safeguard and clear crash scenes and provide emergency services during adverse conditions; and assist road users who are stranded along the route. They provide basic mechanical breakdown and first aid services and emergency support at crashes.
N3TC monitors all incidents and crashes along the N3 Toll Route. Data is collected and analysed and mitigating measures are put in place where required. Human error and reckless driving remain the main causes of crashes. During 2014 the majority of crashes were caused by drivers losing control of their vehicles and rolling, followed by head-tail collisions and vehicles leaving the road. Speed, aggressive driver behaviour and lack of vehicles’ roadworthiness play a part in all of these crashes.
Crash data for the first quarter of 2015 revealed the following:
• 66% of light vehicle crashes were caused by human error
• 80% of heavy vehicle crashes were caused by human error
• In 29.8% of crashes vehicles rolled
• 21% were head-tail crashes
• In 19.4% of crashes vehicles left the road
• 6.5% crashes were side swipes
• 4.4% crashes were pedestrian related
• 2.4% were multiple vehicle crashes
• 248 crashes were reported from January – March 2015 compared to 232 during the same period in 2014 and 282 in 2013
• 11 fatal crashes occurred from January – March 2015. This is down from 20 in 2014 and 23 in 2013.
• During the first quarter 45.5% of fatal crashes occurred in light vehicles and 9.1% between light and heavy vehicles
• 18.2% of crashes were unknown (hit and run)
• 11 pedestrian crashes were reported in the first quarter
• 71.4% of all crashes occurred in clear weather followed by 13.7% when the weather was overcast; 10.9% in rain and 3.2% in mist
Expected peak traffic patterns for June/July holiday and August long weekend:
• 26 June (schools close) – Southbound traffic volumes expected to exceed 1000 vehicles per hour between 08h00 and 19h00 with peaks of around 1800 vehicles per hour expected between 14h00 and 16h00
• 03 July – Southbound traffic volumes expected to exceed 1000 vehicles per hour between 08h00 and 20h00
• 05 July – Southbound traffic volumes expected to exceed 1000 vehicles per hour between 09h00 and 19h00 with peaks of around 1900 vehicles per hour expected between 11h00 and 14h00
• 19 July (schools re-open) – Northbound traffic volumes expected to exceed 1500 vehicles per hour between 11h00 and 17h00 with peaks of around 1800 vehicles per hour between 14h00 and 17h00
• 07 – 10 August (long weekend) – On Friday, 07 August southbound traffic volumes is expected to exceed 1500 vehicles per hour between 11h00 and 20h00 with peaks of around 2200 vehicles per hour between 12h00 and 14h00. On Monday, 10 August northbound traffic volumes are expected to exceed 1500 vehicles between 09h00 and 11h00 with peaks of 2500 vehicles per hour expected between 11h00 and 19h00 (and approximately 3000 vehicles between 13h00 and 14h00)
Motorists can obtain traffic information or report any problems along the Route to N3TC’s 24-hour N3TC Route Control Centre on 0800 63 4357 (0800 N3 HELP) or by following the N3 Route on Twitter: @N3Route.
N3TC wishes motorists safe travels and happy July holidays.