Ongoing roadworks are being blamed for the increased number of accidents on the N3 near Townhill.
On Sunday night, residents near the area felt their windows vibrate following an explosion caused by two trucks that collided near the Peter Brown off-ramp, southbound.
This was near the same spot where 16 people died last month when a truck collided with a fully-loaded passenger taxi.
When The Witness visited the scene on Monday, there were people clearing up a load of onions that came from one of trucks.
One burnt truck was lying on the side of the road. The accident caused heavy traffic congestion throughout the day.
The ongoing roadworks undertaken by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) have led to the road being narrowed. This is an addition to the fact that the road slopes steeply downwards which increases the eventual impact.
Mike Bond, Msunduzi Ward 25 councillor, said better traffic management needs to be implemented in the area as the current measures are “inadequate”.
Bond suggested that traffic officers need to patrol the area as it is now clear it has become hazardous.
“Sanral needs to take responsibility for the safety and security of their contract, which runs from Howick to Pietermaritzburg. This project is going to run for a lot of years. They need to liaise with the local authorities about the traffic department and who is going to pay for it,” he said.
Bond is also a member of the Sanral public liaison committee, which was established by the parastatal to engage communities and other stakeholders regarding concerns about their projects.
Bond said in the meetings he has raised the issue of the roads being narrow near the Peter Brown offramp due to construction work on some of the lanes, however, this has not been attended to by either Sanral or the contractors.
“There needs to be more vigilance and security available for the policing of that whole area when RTI [Road Traffic Inspectorate] and [traffic] police are not available to police it.”
The KZN Department of Transport did not respond to questions sent to them by The Witness and referred us to the RTI.
Zinhle Mngomezulu, RTI provincial spokesperson, said Sunday’s accident was caused by a “runaway truck” that was already on fire before it collided with other vehicles.
Mngomezulu said traffic measures in the area were sufficient, but it was truck drivers and human error causing the accidents.
“Truckers are simply not complying [with road rules]. We have the speed limit, we have a truckers lane, we have a stop sign at the top of Hilton, we have an arrestor bed for runaway trucks; we are trying our level best with our limited resources [but] road safety is a shared responsibility,” she said.
Sanral had not responded to questions by the time of publication.