Cape Town’s spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive, known simply as “Chappies” to countless cyclists and road runners, was reopened on Friday.
The nine kilometre route, which winds along cliffs above Atlantic breakers, had been closed since June last year, following recurrent rockfalls.
The reopening ceremony was performed by Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle, who has been pushing concession operators, the Entilini consortium, to make the road useable again.
Entilini, which operates the route as a toll road, has a contract that controversially entitles it to payouts from the provincial government even if the road is out of commission.
Entilini obtained the 30-year concession in May 2003, after the road was closed because of rockfalls in which a motorist died. Since then it has constructed massive catch nets on the slopes above the road to hold back rocks, and a semi-enclosed tunnel on the most vulnerable stretch.
Chappies has for years formed the most spectacular section of the Two Oceans Marathon, and the Argus cycle tour.
This year’s Argus was allowed to use the route as a special dispensation, even though the drive was closed to motorised traffic.
Chappies was laid out during the First World War.