Alternative road a goat track
ON FRIDAY October 31 we travelled from Joburg to Durban by car.
When arriving at Harrismith (at about 10am) there was an electronic notice board advising motorists that the N3 was closed in both directions on Van Reenens Pass due to more than one serious accident involving numerous vehicles.
We were advised at the N3 concessions office at Harrismith that the best alternative route was the R74 past Sterkfontein Dam and then down Oliviershoek Pass via Bergville and then onto Durban.
We were warned that this road was in a poor state of repair. This is an understatement, as in some places this road is nothing more than a goat track in a very poor state of repair.
Due to the seriousness of the accidents at Van Reenens, traffic in both directions was diverted onto the R74, creating long delays and unsafe travelling conditions with no traffic enforcement personnel in sight.
Some of these vehicles were carrying livestock in appalling conditions.
I cannot understand how a national road has been allowed to deteriorate to this extent. Sanyati Construction went into liquidation on this road due to non-payment by the Free State provincial government a good number of years ago and since then it appears that this road has been abandoned and no maintenance takes place whatsoever.
A sign that a traveller passes at the bottom of Oliviershoek Pass welcomes you to a World Heritage Site (Drakensberg).
Resorts and businesses in the area are barely functional due to the poor state of the road. Imagine the impression that international tourists form when exposed to this situation.
I am under the impression that where there is a toll road in place, there is an obligation on the authorities to provide a suitable alternative untolled route to the public.
The R74 cannot be described as an alternative by any stretch of the imagination. Does anyone know who has allowed the road to deteriorate to where it is today and what is being planned/done to remedy the situation?
The country spends billions on less important matters yet allows a national road to deteriorate into a goat track.
I would appreciate this matter being brought to the attention of those responsible.