Heavy congestion expected on N4 highway

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mbombela - The N4 toll route from Gauteng to Mpumalanga is expected to be heavily congested this weekend.

The combination of the school holidays - which started on Thursday - Heritage Day on Friday and the Innibos national arts festival - which runs until Sunday - is expected to draw more visitors than usual to the province.

"Road users should expect delays at peak times," warned Anita Heyl, spokesperson for N4 toll road operator, Trans African Concessions (TRAC), on Thursday.

She said most vehicles were expected to pass through the Middelburg and Machado toll plazas.

"To avoid slow moving traffic, especially at toll plazas, it is advisable to travel outside of peak periods," she added.

The peak times are expected to be as follows:

Thursday, September 23: easterly direction, 2pm to 10pm
Friday, September 24: easterly direction, 8am to midday
Sunday, September 26: westerly direction, midday to 10pm
Sunday, October 3: westerly direction, midday to 10pm

Over the weekend, TRAC's helicopter and emergency teams will be based at the Middelburg Toll Plaza, where an emergency rescue project will be coordinated.

"This long weekend, road users can rely on the TRACassist emergency helicopter to provide support to TRAC's accident response and emergency teams on the ground," said Heyl.

She said the helicopter had a dedicated advanced life support paramedic on board. The helicopter team will also conduct regular route patrols to improve general safety on the route, Heyl added.

The helicopter will be stationed in and around Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) on Saturday, when the Innibos festival will be in full swing. It will return to Middelburg on Sunday.

New roads have been built around the provincial capital. Maintenance work could interfere with traffic flow.

Ring Road was opened to traffic in June this year and skirts around the busy central business district.

"Ring Road has reduced travelling time between (Mbombela) and Malalane by almost 30 minutes and regular maintenance work is ongoing, but should not have an impact on traffic," said Heyl.

There will also be roadworks in Schoemanskloof, the Elandsvalley near Ngodwana, and between Montrose and the Crocodile Country Inn.

In Mozambique, the EN4 highway is also being re-surfaced in places. Heyl said occasional road closures and narrowing of lanes, especially between 10am and 3pm, may delay traffic.

For roadside assistance motorists can phone TRACassist on 0800 8722 64 in South Africa and +258 84 34 34 34 6 / +258 82 30 34 30 3 in Mozambique.

This year, TRAC has provided roadside assistance to just under 1 000 road users.

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