Cape Town - The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has announced the expected peak travel times over the December 2016 to January 2017 period.
Southbound roads, especially, are expected to be highly congested going into the peak holiday season, as holidaymakers make their way to SA's shorelines for Christmas and New Year.
These major SANRAL routes will experience very heavy traffic: N1 North and South, N3, N4, N7, N2 Cape Town to PE.
The information is based on historical data and traffic modelling.
The expected peak festive season travel times are:
• N1 to Cape Town
o The N1 to Bloemfontein will likely experience high traffic volumes on 18 to 20 December, 24 December and 2 January.
o The N1 to Cape Town will likely experience high traffic volumes on 6, 20 and 27 December, with 3 and 10 January likely to have extremely high traffic volumes.
o The N1 Colesberg South will be free-flowing through December to January with higher traffic volumes on 2 January.
o The N1 Colesberg North will be free-flowing - except for 12 and 19 December and also 2 January – when there are likely to be extremely high traffic volumes.
• N1 to Beit Bridge
o Traffic will likely be free-flowing for most of the festive season with above average traffic volumes on the N1 to Polokwane on 24 December; on 3 and 10 January on the N1 to Pretoria; on 18 and 24 December on the N1 to Beit Bridge; and on 27 December and 3 January on the N1 to Polokwane.
• N2 Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
o The N2 through Sir Lowry’s Pass and Bot River will be free-flowing with periods of increased travel volumes, but no extreme volumes are expected.
o The N2 to Caledon will likely have high traffic volumes on 11 December, 31 December to 4 January. Traffic is expected to reduce into January, and then become increasingly busy over 7 to 13 January.
o The N2 to Somerset West will likely experience high to very high traffic volumes on 6, 13, 20 and 23 December, as well as 26 December to 4 January and 7 to 10 January.
o The N2 to Grabouw will likely have high traffic volumes on 2 and 3 January
o It is expected that the N2 through Groot Brak and the Van Staden’s interchange will be free-flowing for the whole of December and January.
• N2 Port Elizabeth to Durban
o The N2 at Grahamstown West , the N2 south of Kokstad, the N2 to Port Elizabeth, the N2 at Hibberdene and the N2 at Mthatha South to Umtata are expected to be free-flowing for the duration of the festive season.
o The N2 to East London will likely be free-flowing with increased traffic volumes likely from today 24 December, 28 and 31 December, and also 4, 7 and 8 January and 11 to 13 January.
o The N2 Marburg to Port Shepstone will likely experience high traffic volumes today, 7 to 11 December, on 14 and 15 December, 17 to 24 December, 27 December to 1 January, 7 and 8 January and 11 to 13 January.
o The N2 Marburg to Harding will likely experience high traffic volumes today, 7 to 11 December, 17 to 19 December, and 21 to 24 December, as well as 1, 7 and 8 January, and 11 to 13 January.
o The N2 to Durban will likely see increased traffic volumes on 26 and 27 December.
o As will the N2 to Port Shepstone on 24 and 26 December.
• The N3 Durban to Johannesburg:
o The N3 to Pietermaritzburg will likely experience high traffic volumes on 7 and 10 December, as well as 2 January.
o The N3 to Durban will likely experience high traffic volumes today, and 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 23 and 26 December.
o The N3 to Johannesburg at Tugela Plaza will likely see increased traffic volumes on 2 and 3 January only.
o The N3 to Johannesburg at Wilge Toll Plaza will be free-flowing through the festive season.
o The N3 to Johannesburg at De Hoek Toll Plaza will likely see increased traffic volumes on 2 and 3 January only.
• The R23 Heidelberg to Volksrust:
o Direction Heidelberg will likely experience very high to high traffic volumes on 3 and 10 January respectively.
o Direction Greylingstad will likely experience high traffic volumes on 3 January.
o Standerton to Volksrust will likely experience high traffic volumes on 3 January.
SEE: SA summer safety: What you need to know to keep safe this holiday season
• The N4 Pretoria to Komatipoort will likely be free-flowing with increased traffic at Makhado to Nelspruit today, and 11, 18, 23 and 24 December, with very high traffic volumes at the N4 to the Makhado Traffic Control Centre on 27 December, and 2,3 and 10 January.
• The N4 to Brits and Rustenburg will likely see higher than normal traffic volumes but it will remain free-flowing.
• The N2 Durban to Piet Retief will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N4 at Swartruggens will likely remain free-flowing in both directions.
• The N5 Harrismith to Winburg will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N6 East London to Bloemfontein will likely be free-flowing with increased traffic at Aliwal North to Bloemfontein on 3 January.
• The N7 Cape Town to Springbok will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N8 Bloemfontein to Ladybrandt will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N9 George to Colesberg will likely be free-flowing with high traffic volumes expected on 2 January.
• The N10 Port Elizabeth to Colesberg will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N12 Three Sisters to Soweto will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The N17 Johannesburg to Ermelo will likely be free-flowing all the way through December and January.
• The R61 Beaufort West to Port Edward will likely be free-flowing except for 17 December to 3 January in both directions with extremely high traffic volumes expected on 4 January.
The automated pay system on SANRAL’s toll roads became operational on 4 December. Road users with electronic tags will no longer have to stop to pay.
“Automated payment makes it much easier for motorists who undertake long distance journeys,” says Vusi Mona for SANRAL. “They will not have to wait in queues at toll plazas or pay cash at the booms. It will reduce travel time and result in safer and more enjoyable road journeys.”
SANRAL has also called on road users to follow important safety tips when they take to the country’s main roads during the festive season.
Speed limits are clearly indicated on the 21 451 km of roads managed by SANRAL in all nine provinces. “These are maximum limits and drivers should adjust their speed according to conditions such as rain or visibility,” says Mona.
Road users are encouraged to take a break during long distance journeys to prevent fatigue and lack of concentration.
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SANRAL has also stated that no road construction will take place on the N1 north between Gauteng and Zimbabwe during the coming festive season and travellers will not experience any delays.
Travellers can expect a free-flowing driving experience for the entire journey from Gauteng to Zimbabwe. The newly-opened R71 interchange south of Polokwane is a huge improvement for road users visiting Moria during religious festivals as well as tourists travelling to Kruger via Tzaneen and Phalaborwa.
Report incidents to either the South African Police Services (10111) or the National Traffic Call Centre (NTCC) on 012 665 6075.
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