The N3 highway has been reopened to traffic following a massive clean up operation after a two-truck collision earlier on Thursday.
Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the south-bound (Pietermaritzburg direction) and the north-bound (Durban direction) carriageways are both re-opened to traffic.
"The opening of both bounds will allow for the release of traffic whilst the work of conducting repairs on the northbound continues. The driver of the tanker truck is currently in a critical condition in hospital," he said.
"The mop operation was not an easy one considering the fact that two trucks caught fire upon the impact of the collision with paraffin spillage on the northbound. The road suffered severely, however the South African National Roads Agency, SoE Limted, has immediately activated the contractor who is working on site," Ncalane stated.
Provincial MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, said the highway remains in a fragile state due to the construction under way.
"We wish to commend the hard work of all those involved in attending the scene and the mop up operation since the morning. We appeal to motorists and truck drivers to exercise extra caution on this section of the road due to the on-going constriction and upgrades," Hlomuka said.
He explained that such closures have a devastating impact on the economy and can be avoided by observing good driving behaviour.
"There is visible signage on the road, and we appeal to everyone to adhere and comply with those signage," Hlomuka added.
Sanral is still conducting repairs to the damage on the northbound, and motorists must expect delays.