Foreshore Highway Bridge

Foreshore Highway Bridge, Cape Town

Photo Caption: Work on the infamous Foreshore Highway Bridge stopped in 1977.
If you look closely, you might be able to recognise this bridge from some of your favourite action movies.

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The Foreshore Freeway Bridge is the famous unfinished bridge of Cape Town. It is an incomplete section of the intended Eastern Boulevard Highway into the city bowl of Cape Town which runs from the Helen Suzman Boulevard in Green Point.

Great Idea But No Follow Through

In the 1960’s, increased traffic congestion into the city was predicted. To foster better traffic flow with as little disturbance as possible, a ring highway was suggested as a solution. The Foreshore Freeway was then conceptualised and designed. Construction of the freeway started in the 1970’s. The Foreshore Freeway Bridge consists of two separate units, each designed to cater for a direction of traffic that would have moved over and avoided the many intersections below at the CBD’s north entrance.

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Unfortunately, construction stopped in 1977 for no clear reason at the time. Many talks and speculations as to what was the real reason behind the sudden stop of the freeway’s development have surfaced.

The official explanation to date is that the city ran out of money to finance the continuation of the freeway. It is now four decades since the project failed.

Making The Most Out of the Disaster

Both the eastern and western sides of the freeway became public parking spaces. The world’s largest operational vuvuzela featured on the western side of the freeway during the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament.

It trumpeted at the start of each game. It sounded  Today, the Foreshore Freeway Bridge has been dubbed as the biggest unintended boon to the film industry as it is a famous location for action-film stunt scenes and a favourite backdrop for TV shows, as well as gritty urban fashion shoots. The First for Woman ad using the bridge was one of the classics!

Over the years, Cape Town became the one of the most congested cities in South Africa. A recent report in 2018 estimated that Capetonians spend 162 hours a year in traffic.

Numerous attempts to finish construction of the freeway failed for various reasons. The question whether to complete or to demolish the bridge must be answered soon, along with the question of how to develop a solution that will create long-term value for the surrounding precinct and the city in general.