Highways around Tshwane get busy as people head home from holidays
By James Mahlokwane 22m ago
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Pretoria – With Christmas and New Year behind us, traffic picked up yesterday as people started their journeys home from the holidays.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and Tshwane taxi industry expected road traffic to intensify from yesterday, as people returned from neighbouring countries and provinces to Gauteng.
With Tshwane connecting many travellers from Limpopo, Mpumalanga and neighbouring countries, the highways around the capital were noticeably busier yesterday.
National Taxi Council in Tshwane spokesperson, McDonald Makata, said this week was traditionally the time when the first groups of workers made their way back as businesses reopened for the new year.
The RTMC said it had not relaxed its watch on road safety or ensuring that lockdown regulations were met, and urged people to drive with care.
Spokesperson Simon Zwane said by mid-December, traffic officers had already arrested more than 500 motorists for various traffic offences throughout the country. Of these, 219 were related to drunk driving followed by an execution of 189 outstanding warrants, speeding and operating public transport vehicles without permits.
With the sale of alcohol banned from all retail outlets and places of consumption, there is some hope of a safer period as far as road accidents and deaths are concerned because alcohol remains one of the main contributors to road deaths.
The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) company yesterday warned motorists travelling under the current national Covid-19 level 3 curfew regulations (9pm to 6am) to make provision for ample travel time.
Travellers on the N3 Toll Route experienced a major disruption on Saturday evening as a result of a serious multiple vehicle crash in heavy rain which caused the N3 to be closed to traffic for hours near Warden in the Free State.
The traffic back-up resulted in many road users not being able to reach their intended destinations prior to the curfew coming into effect at 9pm.
With more holidaymakers returning to Gauteng yesterday, the N3 Toll Route was expected to be carrying high traffic volumes of more than 2 000 vehicles per hour in a northbound direction.
Rain expected over large parts of the route also caused delays, the company said. “The combination of high volumes, congestion, adverse weather, traffic disruptions, and a national curfew can have a debilitating impact on road safety. Road users are requested to carefully plan their trips to allow for extra travel time and not to rush to their destinations at the last minute to try to beat the curfew,” N3TC operations manager Thania Dhoogra said.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said over 690 people died on the roads from December 1-20, compared to 732 over the same period the previous December.
Zwane encouraged motorists to ensure their vehicles were in a roadworthy condition as over 1 800 vehicles had been impounded in December, 1 465 of them public transport vehicles found to be operating contrary to their permits or overloading passengers.