The Franschhoek Pass was closed on June 22 following rockfalls caused by torrential rain and gale-force winds. File photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Following a three-month closure, the Franschhoek Pass was officially reopened yesterday.

The pass was closed on June 22 following rockfalls caused by torrential rain and gale-force winds, prompting the Stellenbosch Municipality to issue a notice that the pass would be closed indefinitely.

While the pass was opened to traffic, further repairs will continue while it is in use.

Yesterday, Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela officially reopened the pass following an intensive geotechnical assessment.

“The pass had to be closed for safety reasons after a rockfall which damaged a passing vehicle. The driver of the vehicle suffered minor injuries. Two weeks later, another rockfall occurred in the area on July 3.

“My department, together with the Cape Winelands District Municipality, attended to the disaster on the same day. After an assessment by the chief structures engineer, the site was closed and work had to be stopped to protect staff from potential dangers should another rockfall occur,” said Madikizela.

During the site assessment and investigation process, Madikizela said no staff were allowed on site except under monitored conditions.

The geotechnical investigation commenced immediately thereafter to determine the extent and nature of the damage.

Madikizela said the department had spent over R371 000 on a contract for rock barring and other remedial work.

“The final geotechnical report received on July 25 advised that loose material had to be removed from the affected area to prevent further rockfalls. 

"Additionally, the report suggested that the pass be monitored in future until a permanent solution is determined.”