Call to complete ‘useless’ bridges

Mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, pose under the abandoned bridge with an aerial photograph of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct.

The City of Cape Town has made a call for developers and investors to submit ideas for how the city’s iconic unfinished bridges – and the spaces between and under them – can finally be put to use.
Mayor Patricia de Lille and Transport for Cape Town will release a public document, Prospectus for the Development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct, on Friday July 8 to begin the bidding process.
“We lack innovation in government,” said Ms De Lille, as she explained why the City had decided to go this route in redeveloping the idle structures.
She and the City of Cape Town are opening themselves for a free-flow of fresh and new ideas.
“I pledged that we would do something about these (abandoned) bridges (when I became mayor),” said Ms De Lille.
“Not only are they useless, other than for film shoots, 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,” she said.
“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,” said Ms De Lille.
The City is allotting six hectares for the development project.
Ms De Lille said she is happy the City has come up with a solution before the end of her mayoral term on August 3.
The bridge project has been inactive over the past five decades.
In order for a potential investor or developer to be awarded the bid there is a requirement that their bid must include provisions for affordable housing for a variety of differing income groups.
Although the ultimate goal is to resolve Cape Town’s problematic traffic conditions and add to the city’s attractiveness as a tourist destination, the City wants a plan that will redress and end the spatial division created by apartheid once and for all.
The provision for affordable housing is planned to add to the city centre’s access and walk-ability for a range of income groups.
City mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, explained how the City will plan for an inclusive and transparent process through a series of exhibitions and opportunities for public comment.
Mr Herron said before the City awards a bidder and a decision is made, there will be a hearing open to the public.