'Keep your eyes on your fuel gauges' – warns N3 Toll Concession after petrol stations close

The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) has warned motorists to make sure their vehicles have enough fuel when travelling along the N3 toll route as three fuel stations along the route are currently closed for renovations.

N3TC manages the N3 toll route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Since the closure of these fuel stations, our route patrol teams who assist with emergencies and breakdowns along the route have seen a sharp spike in the number of vehicles that run out of fuel," said transport engineer Miles le Roux on Tuesday.

He warned travellers to "keep their eyes on their vehicles' fuel gauges" and to refuel before it became critically low.

Le Roux said it was important to note that no fuel stops are available along the N3 between Van Reenen's Pass and Estcourt.

"Both direct access facilities near Tugela Plaza and Estcourt are closed for renovations and only expected to reopen later this year; and in the Free State, the fuel stop near Balmoral (before Harrismith when traveling south) is also closed for renovation," he said.

He said 51 vehicles ran out of fuel along the route last month, making it the highest number ever.

Peak traffic conditions expected

The figure had increased since the closure of the fuel stations, according to Le Roux.

In May, 13 cars ran out of fuel while 17 ran dry in April and in June, 64 vehicles ran dry and required assistance, he said.

"To avoid the risks and discomfort of being stranded along a busy national road, it is essential that travellers plan alternative fuel stops in advance," said Le Roux.

Fuel stops currently operational along the route (southbound and northbound) are located near Heidelberg, Villiers, Harrismith, Van Reenen's Pass, Estcourt (Midway) and Nottingham Road, according to the company.

Peak traffic conditions were expected from Wednesday, August 8, between 14:00 and 20:00 in a southbound direction, and also on Thursday morning between 06:00 and 12:00.

High traffic volumes are also expected on Sunday, August 12, from 12:00 to 20:00 with the majority of vehicles travelling northbound towards Gauteng, according to the N3TC.

Le Roux said motorists can obtain verified real-time traffic information from N3TC's 24-hour route helpline on 0800 63 4357 or by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route.