The N3 highway has been reopened to traffic after a deadly crash that claimed five lives.
DURBAN – The N3 highway was reopened just before midnight after a deadly crash between Hilton and Cedara.
According to the Department of Transport, five people were killed and the updated number of vehicles involved in the crash was 41.
Scores of people were also injured.
At the time, it was originally reported that there were five trucks, eight minibus taxis and 22 light motor vehicles involved.
The accident took place on Monday afternoon on the Gauteng bound lane, but both carriageways of the highway were closed.
The department said it was forced to close both sides of the N3 and urged motorists to delay their trips or use the R103.
Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said vehicles started to move amid long backlogs of traffic on the N3 northbound (Joburg bound) just before midnight.
“Various government response emergencies have had to work tirelessly to ensure the reopening of the freeway.
“The road was opened after the recovery of all the five bodies of the deceased, assisting survivors on scene and transporting critical patients to health-care facilities for urgent medical attention.
“This multidisciplinary team has had to work hard in removing the wreckages of five trucks, eight minibus taxis and 22 light motor vehicles which were involved in the pile-up.”
Ncalane said shelter was set up at the uMngeni Town Hall and the activation of an emergency contact centre.
He said the taxi industry is also providing transport to public transport commuters who might want to continue with their journey to their respective destinations.
Commenting on the road reopening, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Sipho Hlomuka, has commended the hard work by emergency services.
“We acknowledge the magnitude of this horrific accident and the trauma felt by all those involved is unbearable. We once again wish to send our deepest condolences to all the affected families and wish a speedy recovery to all those who sustained injuries.
“Some motorists have been stuck for hours and lost a lot of time in traffic. We however wish to salute all the emergency response teams for a job well done under such unfavourable weather conditions.
“As provincial authorities, we are hugely disappointed with the fatal crashes recorded during this Easter weekend. We appeal to those who will be continuing with their journey and those who are still going to embark to be on high alert and ensure maximum adherence to traffic regulations.”
* Those who still wish to locate their family members or get a status update on the road, are urged to contact the emergency contact centre number on 033 940 8484.