On 21 June the Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille delivered a speech at the Foreshore Freeway regarding the unfinished highways on the western, central and eastern side of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct that have been part of the Cape Town city landscape for nearly five decades with imaginative stories of how they came about and why they were built, seemingly leading to nowhere.
In the 1970s when engineers designed the freeways the traffic flowing into and out of the city was not nearly at the level it is experiencing today. The project was subsequently abandoned, mainly due to a lack of funds and the fact that the volume of traffic was too low to warrant any further investment.
Now, about 50 years later, these skeleton-like structures still stand unfinished and unused, in the midst of horrific traffic congestion.
De Lille said that these unfinished structures are useless, other than for film shoots, and that they are also preventing the development of prime City-owned land – known as the Foreshore Freeway Precinct – that is locked in under and between the existing highways and the harbour.
“In terms of our proposal as to what to do with the unfinished freeways, it is vital that we find a long-term solution to alleviate congestion. The way the City imagines this is that we will leverage the City-owned land beneath the unfinished bridges for development and part of the conditions for the development will be that it include the funds to complete the unfinished bridges, alleviate congestion and provide affordable housing,” De Lille said.
On 8 July 2016 the City will issue a document calling on prospective investors and developers, or a consortium, to provide them with a solution which will address the congestion the city is currently facing in this precinct. This document will provide interested parties with all of the necessary information about the City-owned land that we will make available to the private sector in return for the provision of road infrastructure and a development that will drive sustainable economic growth.
A pivotal requirement for those wanting to bid is that their development proposal must provide housing opportunities for a diverse cross-section of income groups.
The prospectus will provide clarity on the size and exact location of the land; the requirements for the development proposals coming from the private sector; the timelines; and the processes to be followed in appointing the successful bidder, among others.
Most importantly, the residents of Cape Town will get the opportunity to be involved with this exciting project and Councillor Brett Herron, the Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, will provide more details about this process.
Whether the unfinished highways stay or go, are completed, or redesigned altogether, is for the proposed bidders to put forward.
Any proposal should foremost resolve the traffic congestion and access to and from the city centre and provide the City of Cape Town with an affordable housing component.