Van Reenen's Pass arrestor beds warning

Necessary maintenance to take place

Necessary maintenance warning
Van Reenen's Pass

Van Reenen's Pass on the N3 toll route between Durban and Johannesburg is in the news again, this time with a warning from the N3 Toll Commission that it will be doing necessary maintenance on the two arrestor beds on van Reenen's Pass for the period 30 July to 11 August 2012 and that they will be closed.

“It is therefore of critical importance that the brakes of all vehicles utilising Van Reenen’s Pass be in 100% working order,” said the Road Freight Association, which has published an N3TC flyer on its website.

Van Reenen’s Pass is a beautiful pass in summer, but also notorious for road accidents, and snowfalls that could start in the next month or so. These can trap vehicles and bring traffic to a standstill on both sides of the pass for anything from three hours to three days.

In 2001 hundreds of thousands of Rand were lost to transporters as their trucks and drivers sat stranded for three days in mid-September on both sides of Van Reenen's Pass on the N3 during one of the worst snow storms to hit the area in over 40 years. Over 300 trucks were stuck on each side.

But over the years, snow falls have started as early as June when extreme weather conditions, snow and even fire wreaked havoc on the communities surrounding the N3.

The route is operated and maintained by the N3 Toll Concession's whose route patrol teams have braved the cold to monitor the road surface to ensure that N3 road users could travel safely along the N3. Through their efforts, potential dangers have been identified and addressed timeously. The N3 at Van Reenen's Pass between Harrismith and the Tugela toll plaza was reopened on 6 August last year after being briefly closed due to snow.

Earlier, a few people were stuck on the pass, but authorities helped them to safety.

Meanwhile, another warning has been issued by Trans African Concessions (TRAC) to all operators using the N4 not to allow their drivers to randomly park on the side of the road at night as some have recently fallen victim to violent crime. Speaking to FleetWatch, Anita Heyl, marketing manager of TRAC, said she did not want to sound “alarmist” but there had been incidents where drivers had been attacked when parked alongside the road at night.

The N3 is a National Route in South Africa, connecting Johannesburg and Durban, respectively South Africa's largest and third-largest cities. Johannesburg is the financial and commercial heartland of South Africa, while Durban is South Africa's key port and one of the busiest ports in the Southern Hemisphere and is also a holiday destination. Durban is the port through which Johannesburg imports and exports most of its goods. As a result, the N3 is a very busy highway and has a high volume of traffic.

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