Finishing highways off

2016-06-28 06:00

Affordable housing will form a large part of council’s plans to have developers complete the iconic unfinished highways.

The City of Cape Town is looking for a private partner to develop the unfinished highways on the western, central and eastern side of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct.

“In the 1970s, at the time when engineers designed the freeways and embarked on the ambitious roads project,” says mayor Patricia de Lille. “The traffic flowing into and out of the city was not nearly at the level that we are 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,” says De Lille.

“Now, about 50 years later, these skeleton-like structures still stand unfinished and unused, in the midst of horrific traffic congestion. Not only are they useless, other than for film shoots, but 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 says.

In 2012, the City partnered with the University of Cape Town’s Engineering and Built Environment faculty where students had to explore and find innovative proposals for the future of the foreshore and the unfinished freeways. In 2014, as part of World Design Capital, the City hosted an exhibition showcasing the ideas of the UCT students.

“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 includes the funds to complete the unfinished bridges, alleviate congestion and provide affordable housing.”

The City has already committed R750m over five years for various congestion relief projects across the city and will now, on Friday 8 July, call for prospective investors and developers, or a consortium, to provide a solution which will address the congestion in this precinct.

“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. By this I mean that a percentage of this development must be earmarked for affordable housing opportunities to those beneficiaries and applicants who qualify for these opportunities in terms of the City’s policies.

“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 us with an affordable housing component.”

Prospective bidders will be required to present scale models of their designs for the Foreshore Freeway Precinct. These models will be on display at the Civic Centre where the public will have full access to view the models, adds Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron.

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