N3 traffic congestion to last well into Friday night after protests

KZN police confirm that several truck drivers have been taken in for questioning

03 December 2021 - 19:54
Major disruptions were reported on the N3 due to a truck blockade early on Friday. Stock photo.
Major disruptions were reported on the N3 due to a truck blockade early on Friday. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/photoglory

Management of the N3 Toll Concession said on Friday evening that traffic congestion due to a protest on the highway between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will take some time to clear.

Truck drivers barricaded the N3 toll route early on Friday, causing major disruptions to traffic at Van Reenen's Pass.

A massive traffic build-up was reported in the area, and the Tugela Toll Plaza was closed for northbound traffic.

N3 Toll Concession management said on Friday afternoon the removal of trucks blockading the route was already under way.

Operations manager Thania Dhoogra said protesters had removed the keys from the majority of vehicles blockading the road.

Dhoogra said recovery teams were in the process of towing the trucks out of the roadway, while spare keys for some of the trucks have been delivered to law enforcement officers to enable them to remove the vehicles.

“The recovery process will take some time, whereafter the extensive backlog of traffic still has to be cleared,” said Dhoogra.

Dhoogra said provincial police had also made several arrests at the scene.

Road users are warned to continue to expect traffic disruptions along the route.

“We are expecting the current traffic congestion on the N3 toll route to last well into the night. Traffic authorities are reporting that many roads in the region are also gridlocked as a result of today’s total closure of the N3 toll route by the truckers.

“Road users are advised to remain extra vigilant, and to either delay their trips, or to prepare for slow moving traffic and delays. They are also reminded of the national curfew which starts at midnight tonight until 4am tomorrow,” Dhoogra said.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker confirmed that “a number of truck drivers” were taken in for questioning after trucks were parked across both lanes of the N3 near Van Reenen.

“In the early hours of this morning police were notified of the blockade and responded to the scene. Police officers found that the trucks were abandoned by the drivers who removed the keys before they left.

“Police were able to locate the drivers and the keys for their vehicles. The trucks were removed and traffic is able to move, albeit very slowly. We urge motorists to avoid the area until traffic is flowing smoothly. Additional police officers have been deployed to the area to ensure no further blockades on the route,” he said.

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