Big Plans for Cape Town's Unfinished Highway

For as long as anyone can remember, Cape Town’s unfinished highway has remained a permanent fixture in the CBD. The Foreshore freeway bridge has, in fact, remained unfinished for over 40 years. It is a popular favourite for Cape Town film production, serving as the ideal place for many action movies, commercials and music videos over the years. In many ways, you could think of it as another one of the city’s infamous landmarks – not always the most attractive one but certainly fascinating.

Unfinished Cape Town Foreshore Freeway

While this cut-off bridge has become part of the landscape for over four decades, the City of Cape Town recently revealed that it will be transforming the bridge to help reduce the serious traffic congestion in the city.

About the Unfinished Bridge in Cape Town

Before we reveal the city’s plans for the bridge, let’s take a closer look at the notorious unfinished bridge in Cape Town to see how it came to be (and why many locals will be devastated to lose it).

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the bridge:

Conceptualised and designed in the late 1960s, work began in the early 1970s with the freeway aimed at alleviating future traffic congestion in the city expected in the years to come. However, due to budget constraints in city expenditure at the time, the project never came to completion and has stood in its unfinished state since construction officially ended in 1977.

And here is what the bridge has looked like over its 40 odd years of fame…

Cape Town's Famous Unfinished Bridge

The original bridge soon after construction.

Cape Town Unfinished Bridge Vuvuzela Moment

A (giant) vuvuzela moment during the 2010 FIFA World Soccer Cup

Cape Town Foreshore Freeway Protest Sign

A visible backdrop for activism and advertising

What Will the Future Hold for the Unfinished Foreshore Freeway?

So far, reports are still a little vague, but from interviews that have been given to local media, City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille stated that connecting the unfinished flyover to the N1 highway is part of a five year plan to reduce traffic congestion. In a recent TomTom global traffic index released earlier this year, Cape Town was ranked the most congested city  in South Africa. The greater plans for the bridge are aimed at helping to streamline traffic and may also include the construction of a second road that will run adjacent to the proposed N1 entry and exit.

De Lille’s spokeswoman Zara Nicholson said that a formal announcement would be made later in June, to provide clarity on the City’s plans for the bridge.

“This is an ongoing process which is still under way,” she said, adding, “The outcome of this process will determine the possible solutions to address traffic congestion, to name but one.”

It’s not the first time that plans have been considered for this iconic landmark. In 2014, engineering students at a local university were tasked with coming up with potential project ideas. None included transforming the bridge into a functional highway, but some of the ideas were certainly interesting. Among the ideas were a giant roller coaster (we love this one!), an urban park, a giant water park (also one that should have at least been considered!) and a skate boarding park.

We love this ancient, hilarious landmark, and as much as we would miss its presence, we’re all for any plans that help make the city more accessible to all. If that means a potential plan to turn it into a fully functional freeway, then we will just have to prepare ourselves for the eventuality of losing our famous dead end highway.


If you could choose any purpose for the Cape Town Foreshore flyover, what would it be? Let us know!

About The Author: Rox

Cape Town based copywriter, blogger, baker of cookies, seeker of calm and maker of things.
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