Keep an eye of your petrol gauge: Three fuel stations closed on N3 Toll Route, motorists left stranded
It might be long weekend as South Africans celebrate Women's Day but the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) are warning travellers to keep their eyes on their vehicles’ fuel gauges and to re-fuel before it becomes critically low, says Arrive Alive.
"When planning your trips this long weekend, keep in mind that three fuel stations along the N3 Toll Route are currently closed for renovations.
"Since the closure of these fuel stations, our Route Patrol teams who assist with emergencies and breakdowns along the Route, have seen a sharp spike in the number of vehicles that run out of fuel," N3TC Transport engineer Miles le Roux says.
According to the N3TC, during April 2018, 17 vehicles ran out of fuel, and a further 13 vehicles in May; but since June (and the closure of the fuel stations) these figures have more than doubled.
N3TC reports that 46 vehicles ran dry in June and required assistance, and in July another 51 vehicles – the highest number ever – ran out of fuel on the N3 Toll Route.
Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck says: "We always need to be prepared for the sudden unforeseen stop next to the road and limit where possible the occurrence thereof. This includes planning well, driving with a full tank of fuel, and having phones charged for the emergency call."
Two fuel stops closed in KwaZulu/Natal and one in the Free State
It is important to note that no fuel stops are available along the N3 Toll Route between Van Reenen’s Pass and Estcourt.
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Both direct access facilities near Tugela Plaza and Estcourt are closed for renovations and only expected to re-open later this year; and in the Free State, the fuel stop near Balmoral (before Harrismith when traveling south) is also closed for renovation.
Motorists will have to go off the Route for fuel along this section.
"To avoid the risks and discomfort of being stranded along a busy national road, it is essential that travellers plan alternative fuel stops in advance", says le Roux.
Fuel stops currently operational along the N3 Toll Route (south- and northbound) are located near:
• Van Reenen’s Pass;
• Estcourt (Midway) and
• Nottingham Road.
No construction work during peak long weekend
Rehabilitation and construction work on the N3 Toll Route between Nottingham Road and Howick will cease for the duration of the long weekend to allow for unrestricted traffic flow. Only essential maintenance work will be undertaken if required.
Peak traffic conditions
Peak conditions are expected from Wednesday, 08 August between 2pm and 8pm in a southbound direction, and also on Thursday morning between 6am and 12am. High traffic volumes are also expected on Sunday, 12 August from 12pm to 8pm with the majority of vehicles traveling northbound towards Gauteng.
Be cautious of adverse weather conditions and veld fires
This time of year, parts of the N3 Toll Route are prone to experiencing adverse weather conditions which may include freezing temperatures, thick mist, wet weather and high winds.
As it is currently the dry winter season, the areas adjacent to the N3 Toll Route are prone to veld fires which can spread rapidly. Every precaution should be taken when driving in dangerous conditions.
Switch headlights on, reduce speed, increase following distance and remain fully alert at all times. If at all possible, avoid traveling at night.
“N3TC’s Road Incident Management System (RIMS) teams monitor the Route continuously. Additional emergency and law enforcement resources are deployed along the Route during peak traffic periods.
Obtain verified real-time traffic information from N3TC’s 24-hour Route Helpline on 0800 63 4357 or by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route. Any problems on the N3 Toll Route can also be reported to this number or via Twitter.
N3TC manages the N3 Toll Route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu/Natal. "We wish all our road users a relaxing and safe journey," ends Miles le Roux.