As residents in areas surrounding Town Hill relaxed on Sunday night ahead of their working week, a series of massive explosions rent the air.
Windows rattled as the booms resonated through the valley. The neighbourhood Whatsapp and Telegram groups lit up as people asked for clarity on the origin of the bangs.
While some wondered if it was an accident, others could be forgiven for wondering if it was perhaps a substation exploding or some nefarious actions on behalf of some disgruntled group or other. As it turned out, it was another massive crash on this now notorious stretch of the highway. The accident, which involved four trucks and one motor vehicle, took place in the south-bound lane near the Peter Brown off-ramp.
The relative peace of the area in the vicinity is shattered many times a day by the wail of sirens from emergency vehicles trying to get to crash scenes on the hill. These brave emergency workers tell hair-raising tales of having to drive contraflow against oncoming traffic to reach crash scenes where backed up traffic makes the road impassable because access is restricted by road barriers. In rescuing others they are at risk themselves.
The danger for road users is obvious and with hazardous materials being transported on the N3 there is an associated risk for residents in the areas surrounding the N3 if chemical explosions or spills had to occur.
While after the previous inferno, which claimed 16 lives at the end of May, Sanral said it had met its mandate in terms of signage and traffic accommodation, it is clear that the narrowing of the road and the concrete barriers in the area make it hazardous to negotiate, especially at night.
The work to repair the road needs to be done, but Sanral must commit to do all it can to finish this work as speedily as possible. The time frame for completion of this project must be narrowed if at all possible to help mitigate the real threat to the lives of those using this perilous stretch of road.