Foreshore Freeways
Foreshore Freeways

10-company partnership, including dhk, create compelling vision for Cape Town’s Foreshore Freeway Precinct

What to do with Cape Town’s incomplete Foreshore Freeways Bridge is an issue that has puzzled the city for decades. To complete or demolish? And, how to develop a solution that will create long-term value for the surrounding precinct and the city in general. To answer this conundrum, dhk in a 10-company partnership including Urban-Think Tank, developed CITYLIFT. An innovative master plan, it proposes dropping Cape Town’s Foreshore Freeways to the ground and lifting the city over them. Not only would this scheme expand the CBD, but it would provide a new neighbourhood stretching 1 kilometre along the harbour’s edge.

The City of Cape Town shortlisted CITYLIFT as one of six shortlisted bids in a competition it initiated 1 . The brief called for a plan that would solve congestion issues, introduce affordable housing, as well as, create aesthetically-pleasing precinct.

dhk’s Head of Urban Design, Guy Briggs, speaks about the complexity of the project. “Completing the freeway to the original design would simply relocate congestion and exacerbate the existing disconnection. Especially, between the V&A Waterfront and the city. Furthermore, it would extend existing freeway structures that are already at year 40 of their 50-year structural lifespan. All while failing to deliver significant development opportunities – at huge cost”.

The CITYLIFT master plan comprises three parts. The city extended to the harbour (at upper levels), sub-surface strategic movement systems, and a new linear park that connects the city and movement levels. The first step involves demolishing the Foreshore Freeway Bridge and dropping the working freeway to the ground. Then, gradually lifting the city over it. This would create a raised ground level, extending the grid of the city at a height of approximately 7-10 metres. Thereby, lifting it over public transport and cars moving below. A four-lane road in both directions, including BRT bus lanes, would be built beneath the raised city ground. Furthermore, this would include parking and services infrastructure to support the developments above.

The raised city ground two storeys about existing ground level would also provide the missing link for a grand public promenade. This walkway would stretch from Sea Point to Table Bay. Dubbed the “Big S”, the promenade and ‘grand urban balcony’ would boast views the ocean, harbour and Table Mountain. The promenade would be made possible by linking a series of land parcels and public parks, such as Green Point Park, Trafalgar Park and others, and would ultimately result in a more easily accessible CBD – thus diminishing the city’s traffic congestion to create a 24/7 pedestrian-friendly city. (Access to the CBD is limited as it is surrounded by mountains and sea). Additionally, the raised city ground creates an edge to the harbour that allows the port functions to be retained at existing ground level while enabling sweeping views over these to the sea.

CITYLIFT also makes provision for affordable housing, embracing the forefront of thinking around equitable and sustainable development principles. Traffic congestion is further considered by prioritising public transport, allowing a seamless flow of people and vehicles through Cape Town. The plan promotes long-term value through its incremental development and green infrastructure that is flexible enough to be adapted over 50 to 100 years of a changing environment.

The extension of the city grid will enable the completion of green links between Table Mountain and the sea.

CITYLIFT’s framework provides a realistic solution that connects the city to the ocean, optimises vehicular and pedestrian traffic, embraces an equitable approach to the way the city is built and enables Cape Town to adapt better to the future.

The visionaries behind the project include consultants from various companies who worked together bringing on board their specific areas of expertise, namely: dhk, Urban-Think Tank, Jakupa, OKRA, Future Cape Town, Nadeson Consulting Services, Nigel Burls & Associates, Viruly Consulting, Rode and Associates, BTKM Quantity Surveyor and Trafficon.

See more here.