ACCORDING to a South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) statement on April 2, most major highways countrywide are in excellent condition and road users will encounter only limited construction activities during the Easter holiday period.
The holiday - from Friday April 14 to Monday the 17th - traditionally sees a spike in traffic on most major national and provincial highways. Historically, peak traffic times over the weekend are on the Thursday before the long weekend, and Easter Monday.
Thus, going towards Cape Town from the north, congestion will be experienced at the Huguenot Tunnel and going northwards, again on Easter Monday. There will be heavy traffic on Thursday April 13 on the N2 towards Caledon, and again on Easter Monday, going toward Grabouw.
On the N3 there will be heavy traffic traveling from the coast to the Reef on Easter Monday at Van Reenen’s Pass and the Merrivale Interchange. The same holds for the Machadadorp Plaza on the N4 going from Nelspruit to Middelburg on Easter Monday.
In addition, there might be congestion. This is also true for the Brits Plaza on the same highway going west on the two days before Good Friday as well as Easter Monday. In the opposite direction, this holds for Good Friday and Easter Monday.
On the R101 heading toward Bela Bela heavy traffic volumes are expected on the day before Good Friday and coming back, toward Pretoria, on Easter Monday. Also along the R101, at Moordenaarsdrift towards Mokopane, heavy traffic flows are expected early on Good Friday while going toward Mookgophong heavy traffic and congestion will occur ln Easter Monday.
These are the expected peak travel times barring any unforeseen major traffic incidents or weather conditions.
The introduction of automated pay systems at toll plazas on the busiest highways connecting Gauteng with the KZN Coast, the Western Cape and the Limpopo border will have an impact on traffic flow and contribute to safer journeys.
Road users with tags no longer have to stop at toll plazas where the automated payment system is already in place. This enables motorists to plan their travel in advance, cuts down on waiting time at plazas and reduces the levels of driver fatigue and frustrations during long journeys.
“This demonstrates how SANRAL’s investments in cutting-edge technology and smart road systems are contributing to a safer road environment,” says Sanral communications manager Vusi Mona.
Construction work during peak hour traffic will be limited and no journeys on any of the major highways will be delayed by more than 20 minutes due to road building activities.
• On the N1 between Gauteng and Cape Town some construction work is taking place on the stretch between Bloemfontein and Kroonstad in the Free State and traffic might be temporarily diverted.
• Ongoing rehabilitation is taking place on the N3 freeway through the Free State from Warden to Van Reenen. Construction activities will, however, be limited during the peak holiday periods.
• North of Durban construction of the Mount Edgecombe interchange near King Shaka Airport and at the Kwabhoboza interchange on the N2 North Coast may cause some delays as a stop-and-go is in place.
• Motorists are encouraged to be alert for pedestrians and stray animals along the national road network. Special attention is to be paid particularly concerning informal settlements in Knysna along the N2, from George to Natures Valley, Kei River to Dutywa, as well as the N4 near Bapong.
• Pilgrims travelling to the Easter festival in Moria in Limpopo will benefit from major upgrades done to the R71 interchange and the access road leading to Zion City.
Mona calls on road users to obey speed limits and slow down at demarcated areas where temporary construction might take place.
“The national and provincial road network is a safe environment and if drivers stick to the rules of the road and display tolerance and courtesy towards fellow road users, we should be able to cut down on the unacceptably high rate of fatal crashes,” says Mona.
“Driving requires focus so if you are tired, take a break; do not text and drive; know your WHOA!”
The agency is taking great care to prevent pedestrians or stray animals from entering the freeway network but road users are cautioned to adjust their speed especially during night times.