Tens of thousands of holidaymakers are expected to head to KwaZulu-Natal this festive season to visit family or for a much-needed break and many will use the N3 Toll Route which is one of the busiest freight routes in South Africa.File photo: Tiro Ramatlhatse
Tens of thousands of holidaymakers are expected to head to KwaZulu-Natal this festive season to visit family or for a much-needed break and many will use the N3 Toll Route which is one of the busiest freight routes in South Africa.File photo: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Travelling to KZN on the N3 this December? Here's the best times to do so

By Daily News Reporter Time of article published Dec 12, 2019

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Durban - Tens of thousands of holidaymakers are expected to head to KwaZulu-Natal this festive season to visit family or for a much needed break and many will use the N3 Toll Route which is one of the busiest freight routes in South Africa. 

The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) which manages the N3 Toll Route between Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal and Heidelberg in Gauteng says that trucks carrying an average of 50-million tons of freight per annum constitute around 38% of traffic on the N3. 

Daily commuters and leisure travellers make up the balance of traffic on this route which traverses Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. 

At peak times, traffic volumes can increase to well over 2000 vehicles per hour.

The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) monitors traffic patterns, all incidents and crashes along this route.

 “All data is collated, analysed and interpreted. It provides us with concrete evidence of traffic patterns, contributory factors to crashes and any other road safety shortfalls,” explains transport engineer, Miles le Roux.

The N3TC has advised motorists to plan their route carefully and stay informed of road and traffic conditions up ahead

"Traffic volumes, the time of day or night, weather conditions, emergency situations and general road conditions impact on safety, mobility and convenience on the road.It is advisable to travel outside of peak periods, when volumes are high, and the demands on drivers escalate. Careful planning helps you to avoid a last-minute rush and late-night driving," the company said

Here are some tips to travel safely and the peak periods on the N3

Daytime/clear weather crashes higher

It is interesting to note that the majority of crashes (82,5%) on the N3 Toll Route (during the first 10 months of this year) happened in clear weather conditions. “This again points to human behaviour being a large contributory factor to crashes,” stresses le Roux.

Night time crashes more severe

“For the same period, we have noted a decline in the number of crashes at night from 520 in 2018 to 453 in 2019. Up to date there were more accidents during the day (480) than at night (453); but although less, the crashes at night were far more severe than those during the day. 56% of night time crashes were reported as serious (with severe injuries or fatal), while 44% of daytime crashes were serious. The majority of daytime crashes were slight or without injuries. “These statistics underscore our recommendation rather to travel duing the day than at night,” says le Roux.

 Only emergency road works to be performed during peak traffic season

N3TC’s construction teams will stop all rehabilitation and upgrade work on the N3 Toll Route today.

Every endeavour is being made to have at least two lanes per direction open to traffic during the peak season (13 December 2019 to 08 January 2020). Only essential maintenance work will be performed during this period.

Stay up to date

“N3TC uses tried and tested methods to engage with our road users. We often notice how real-time traffic information assists to create better-informed and generally safer drivers. Therefore, we encourage you not only to heed all the warning signs on the road, but also for your passengers to talk to us on Twitter @N3Route or follow us on Facebook. Travellers can make use of N3TC’s 24-hour N3TC helpline on 0800 63 4357 to obtain regular traffic updates or emergency assistance,” ends le Roux.

Traffic forecasts

The forecasts provide an indication of the expected traffic volumes and peak conditions on the N3 Toll Route in a southbound direction (towards KwaZulu-Natal) and a northbound direction (towards Gauteng) this holiday season. 

Slow moving conditions are expected when traffic volumes are high. High (heavy) volumes constitute more than 1500 vehicles per hour in a particular direction. On the N3 Toll Route volumes can spike up to 2000 - 3500 vehicles per hour on peak days.

 SOUTHBOUND TOWARDS KWAZULU-NATAL

Thursday, 12 December and Friday, 13 December 2019:

BUSY from 12h00 to 15h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from15h00 to 18h00
BUSY from 18h00 to 21h00

Saturday, 14 December 2019: 

BUSY from 03h00 to 06h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 06h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

Thursday, 19 December 2019:

BUSY from 12h00 to 15h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 15h00 to 18h00
BUSY from 18h00 to 21h00

Friday, 20 December 2019:

BUSY from 12h00 to 15h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 15h00 to 18h00
BUSY from 18h00 to 21h00

Saturday, 21 December 2019:

BUSY from 06h00 to 09h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 09h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

Sunday, 22 December 2019:

BUSY from 09h00 to 15h00

Monday, 23 December 2019:

BUSY from 09h00 to 12h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 12h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

Tuesday, 24 December 2019:

BUSY from 09h00 to 12h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 12h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

Friday, 27 December 2019:

BUSY from 12h00 to 15h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 15h00 to 18h00
BUSY from 18h00 to 21h00

Saturday, 28 December 2019:

BUSY from 03h00 to 06h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 06h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

NORTHBOUND TOWARDS GAUTENG

Sunday, 05 January 2020:

BUSY from 09h00 to 12h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 12h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

Sunday, 12 January 2020:

BUSY from 09h00 to 12h00
HIGH VOLUMES/PACE SLOW from 12h00 to 15h00
BUSY from 15h00 to 18h00

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