With South Africa remaining on Covid-19 alert level one for the 2021 Easter period, a significant increase in traffic was experienced along the N4 Toll Route over the four-day long weekend. Traffic was exceptionally high around the Middelburg and Machado plazas, with many road users making their way to and from Mpumalanga’s Lowveld region.
Fifty-two accidents and two fatalities were recorded between Thursday 1 April and Monday 5 April 2021 – 32 of which were in South Africa and 20 in Mozambique. This figure is unfortunately higher than that of 2019 and 2020, bearing in mind that no leisure travel was allowed during 2020’s Easter period due to South Africa’s covid-related lockdown.
As predicted, traffic peaked on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and on Monday from 11am. To buffer the risks associated with the increased traffic volumes the TRAC Helpdesk and TRACAssist partnered with the bulk of provincial and private emergency services, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders along the N4 Toll Route. This formed part of the TRAC N4 Easter 2021 Road Safety and Swift Response Campaign, which aimed to reduce response times to roadside emergencies and incidents.
TRAC also focused on boosting its safety messaging. This was done via a road safety activation at Alzu Petroport in Belfast, where TRAC representatives engaged with road users and encouraged them to obey road regulations and be responsible and courteous on the road.
Despite TRAC’s efforts to avoid delays along the route, traffic backlogs were unfortunately experienced on certain sections of the road due to a combination of high traffic volumes, road improvement construction sites and accidents. TRAC thanks road users for their patience during these delays and reminds them that it is imperative to plan one’s trip, especially during peak traffic times, to avoid such frustrations.
One of the most positive factors of the 2021 Easter weekend was the steady traffic flow witnessed at the Lebombo Border Post. This international crossing has come under fire often during peak travel days, due to heavy backlogs experienced en-route to the facility. However, throughout the 2021 Easter period, no major backlogs were experienced due to a well-led traffic management campaign by the provincial traffic department.