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Smooth sailing expected for N1 holiday traffic

Industry news

Johannesburg – No road works are scheduled for the coming holiday period on the N1 between Gauteng and Cape Town and road users will not experience major delays, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said on Sunday.

Extreme high volumes of traffic were, however, expected in parts of the Karoo and at the Huguenot Tunnel on certain days prior to public holidays, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said.

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Sanral is confident that motorists will not experience major delays on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town this holiday season. File picture: Thobile Mathonsi/Independent Media.

The automated payment system introduced last year by Sanral at toll plazas in southern Gauteng – Grasmere, Verkeerdevlei, and Vaal – brought major benefits for road users with electronic tags who no longer had to stop at the booms. The system recognised the tag on the vehicle and the boom was lifted enabling the vehicle to drive through without coming to a complete stop.

“This is one of the new technologies introduced by Sanral to make long-distance journeys safer and more comfortable,” Mona said.

“It cuts down on waiting time at toll booths, reduces driver fatigue and frustration, and contributes to a much more pleasant journey, especially during the busy holiday periods.

Sanral expected free-flowing traffic throughout December and January on the entire N1 route. However, high traffic volumes would be experienced on the weekend and on the days prior to the Day of Reconciliation, Christmas, and New Year.

Very high traffic volumes were expected on either side of the Huguenot Tunnel in the Western Cape and in the vicinity of Colesberg in the Karoo on certain critical days. Road users in the Johannesburg area should also be aware of the urban road works undertaken by the city and to be very cautious at detours, especially at night, he said.

Travellers were encouraged to take a break during long distance journeys to prevent fatigue and lack of concentration. Most crashes on the N1 could be attributed to speeding, driver fatigue, reckless overtaking, or vehicles travelling in the emergency lane.

Mona said motorists should be very cautious when driving in areas where housing settlements were located close to the road, especially in the Southern Free State and the Karoo. There were often high pedestrian activities or the possibility of domestic animals wandering onto the road in such areas.

These included the Okavango/Cape Gate Interchange; Joostenberg Vlakte/N1 Winelands One Stop; Sandhills; De Doorns; Touws River; Laingsburg; Beaufort West; Hanover; and Colesberg.

Motorists were also urged not to stop and buy fruit and vegetables along the highway.

Incidents should be reported to either the South African Police Service (10111) or the National Traffic Call Centre (NTCC) on 012-665-6075. Traffic disruptions or crashes on the N1 in Gauteng should be reported to 0800-487-233.

The expected peak travel times over the December 2016 to January 2017 period based on historical data and traffic modelling for the N1 Bloemfontein to Cape Town were:

* The N1 to Bloemfontein at the Huguenot tunnel was likely to experience high traffic volumes on December 1, 8, 14, 15, 22, 25, and 26, and January 1;

* Extremely high traffic volumes were expected on December 10 and 17 and January 1 on the N1 to Cape Town at the Huguenot tunnel; traffic was expected to reduce into January and become slightly busy on January 7;

* Free-flowing traffic was expected throughout December on the N1 to Bloemfontein from Colesberg north with extremely high traffic volumes on January 1. Traffic volumes would decrease on January 2 to 4 and were expected to decrease further from January 5;

* The N1 at Colesberg south would likely be free-flowing with periods of increased travel volumes, but no extreme volumes were expected on the N1 to Bloemfontein and the N1 to Cape Town; and

* Free-flowing traffic was expected in the beginning of December with extremely high volumes on December 15 on the N1 to Colesberg at Colesberg north; traffic volumes would decrease and be free-flowing from December 15 through to January.

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