The unfinished bridge on the Foreshore in Cape Town. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
The unfinished bridge on the Foreshore in Cape Town. File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

So what comes next for unfinished bridge on the Foreshore?

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Oct 23, 2020

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Cape Town - Questions about the future of the unfinished bridge on the Foreshore has continuously come up, and it appears there is no indication of any forthcoming answers.

The unfinished bridge, which has arguably become an iconic site within Cape Town, is an incomplete section of what was intended to be the Eastern Boulevard Highway in the city bowl of Cape Town.

James Wilson, chief executive of The Amdec Group, the developer behind the R15 billion Harbour Arch project on the Foreshore recently spoke about the bridge and its history.

“Named ’Solly’s Folly’ after city engineer Solly Morris, who proposed the structure, parts of the freeway were literally left hanging when funds for its completion were diverted to projects deemed more important at the time – such as the great segregationist plan of the 1970s in which Mitchells Plain was established, and 60 000 people who had called the inner city home were displaced,” he said.

Wilson even presented several ideas of how the city could fix this “blight”.

Numerous attempts have been made over time to address the unfinished freeway bridge, but nothing has come of it.

A recent meme even took a dig at how the bridge started, and the fact that years later, it still remained the same.

In 2017 the City of Cape Town, under the leadership of then mayor Patricia De Lille, requested proposals for the development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct – which was to complete unfinished bridges and build social houses in the inner city.

In 2018, City of Cape Town manager Lungelo Mbandazayo said upon receiving legal advice, he made a decision to cancel the request for proposals (RFP).

De Lille, whose powers were reduced as she was then embroiled in a battle with the DA to have her removed, said even she was taken by surprise by the decision.

“The last meeting I had with the City manager, he told me that there were deficiencies.

“I understood that, but now this has happened without my approval nor the approval of the mayoral committee."

At the time of the project’s cancellation, there were six bidders.

Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase said the City was considering various solutions and whatever was decided would be communicated to the public.

"The City is still considering solutions regarding these structures.

“In so doing we have to take into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the City’s finances and budget.

“This project will require substantial investment from the City in a time when we have to prioritise capital projects to ensure the administration’s financial sustainability.

“We will inform the public accordingly, once we have made a decision.”

“The demolition of the unfinished highways in the Foreshore is not under consideration at this point.”

The City said whatever was decided upon for the future of the project “will have to be affordable and sustainable in the long-run” but that for the time being focus will be on “keeping in mind the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the City’s finances, as well as its impact on the local economy”.

Cape Argus

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