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Tuesday Mar 03, 2015

Cape Town's famous unfinished highway set for resolution

While the City of Cape Town has allowed the CTICC to build a ramp and create a parking lot on one end of the "unfinished highway" on the Foreshore, the highway's long-term future could be decided by the end of this year, says the city.

CTICC's new parking lot on the highway as seen from the Cape Town Westin hotel.

The parking lot of 289 parking bays on the unfinished freeway began operating on February 16 on the seventh level of the CTICC's existing six-floor parking facility. Vehicles access the new bays through a newly constructed ramp.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the city owned the entire parking space at the CTICC, to which it leased the premises.

"When the CTICC was built, the city leased that parking area to them. I think it was a 49-year lease. The difference is that we have allowed them to build a ramp on to the freeway, so that they can use the space for parking.

"All we've done is allow them to park on the (unfinished) freeway."

Mayco member for transport Brett Herron said the city delegated a panel of experts to come up with a solution before the end of the year on what should happen to the freeway.

He said leasing was managed by the property management department.

"However, all leases of city property include clauses providing for termination of the lease if the property is ever required for municipal purposes."

Herron explained that construction of the freewaybegan in the late 1960s and early 70s.

The freeway's two separated ends were left to be constructed at a later stage when traffic volumes required their connection, he said.

"There were lots of urban legends (as to) why they were not completed, but at the time they were not meant to be completed.

"So when I was appointed, I decided that we needed to consider whether the freeway needed to be completed, and if not, what we could do with the structures because it's very valuable land."

He said the panel of experts would deliver a report after analysing proposals from a group of post-graduate UCT students.

The students were tasked, as part of their post-graduate curriculum, by UCT's Build and Environment Faculty to consider the future of the Foreshore precinct and the unfinished freeway, Herron said.

"That project was called the Future Foreshore Project. Over the 2013/2014 academic year, those students in departments such as engineering, property development, architecture, and urban design and planning worked in groups on the project.

"They tried to reimagine the Foreshore and to assess what was needed to complete the freeway or to use other purposes.

"The experts' panel will look at the students' work and advise the city on what to do. That will happen this year and we will announce at the end of this year what we are ready to do (with the freeway).

"It's quite an exciting project. It was really a rewarding experience for the city government to collaborate with young minds at the university," he said.

Among proposals volunteered by the public earlier on what should happen to the unfinished freeway were: to turn the ends of the freeway into waterfalls, or turn the surfaces of the freeway's two ends into public parks.

"Others were saying that we should turn them into a memorial garden for the deceased," Herron said.

Cape Times


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