Southern Peninsula’s scenic Main Road open and ready for summer season

From: City of Cape Town

The multi-million rand rehabilitation of Main Road, one of the Southern Peninsula’s most scenic access routes, has been completed. With summer upon us, residents and visitors to the suburbs of Muizenberg, St James, and Kalk Bay can now fully enjoy the benefits of this project.

The City of Cape Town is wrapping up work on Main Road in the far south.

We completed the final asphalt surface of Main Road on Wednesday 1 November 2017. We will be done with minor snags by the end of this week which will have little, if any, impact on the traffic. This is a major accomplishment, not only for the City, but also for residents and business owners who patiently endured the roadworks, traffic disruptions, and stop/go systems while we were working on the most challenging phase of the project,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.

The City commenced with the first phase of the project – from Casa Labia in Muizenberg up to St James – in March 2008. Construction of Phase 2 – between Leighton Road in St James and the Kalk Bay Harbour entrance – started in January 2011 and was completed in August 2013.

‘We have nearly concluded this nine-year long project, with the overall investment amounting to approximately R340 million. The project took place over three phases and we are almost done with the third and final phase. Road users will still see some activity next to the road while we are sorting some minor finishing to the footways. We are also busy with the upgrade of the parking area at the Kalk Bay harbour which should be completed before the builders’ holiday.

‘The bulk of the R340 million was spent on the rehabilitation of the road base layers and surfacing of Main Road from the intersection with Atlantic Road in Muizenberg to the intersection with Clovelly Road; the construction of a new retaining wall at Clovelly; and replacing timeworn underground services such as the 100-year-old sewer pipes and 50-year-old water main at Clovelly. We also installed low-voltage electricity cables, new stormwater infrastructure and streetlights,’ said Councillor Herron.

The construction of a new retaining wall above the railway line in Clovelly posed the biggest challenge. Apart from making it possible to widen the road at this section, the retaining wall also serves as a support structure for Main Road. Thanks to the wider road, there is now parallel parking along the sea side and walkways on the mountain and sea side for pedestrians and cyclists all the way from Woolley’s Pool to the Silvermine River bridge.

‘We have used state-of-the-art technology to stabilise and compact the soil to ensure that it has sufficient bearing capacity for the foundations of the retaining wall. This technology saved us up to six months’ working time – an important factor for local residents and business owners, given the disruptions that were caused by the ongoing roadworks. The retaining wall has been fitted with a handrail, and we will soon install a glass barrier along a short section where Metrorail’s overhead electricity cables are in close proximity to the footway. These features were carefully chosen so that we do not impede the views of False Bay, Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek,’ said Councillor Herron.

The wall has been dressed with sandstone that was excavated from the site, and is buttressed at 5 m intervals to create shadow lines, adding to its aesthetics.

The revamping in 2015 of the historic mile area in Muizenberg, a surfing haven for locals and visitors, formed part of the project.

‘We refurbished walkways, parking areas and access routes. We paved the sidewalks with red bricks along the stretch of Main Road where it meanders under the colonnades of historic buildings dating from the late 1890s. The median island at the crossing of York and Main Roads was extended to make it safer for pedestrians crossing Main Road towards Muizenberg Park,’ said Councillor Herron.

A new grass-block public parking area with an additional 30 bays was added near the police station along School Road. Opposite the Muizenberg Station, an additional seven parking bays were created thanks to the new layout of the Bay Road steps, also built from sandstone to fit in with the character of the area.

‘We resurfaced the parking area opposite the False Bay College, replaced the streetlights with new pedestrian-friendly streetlights that are lower and provide better lighting at night, and installed sandstone benches in the communal area adjacent to the railway line where students and visitors can sit while enjoying the view over False Bay,’ said Councillor Herron.

The sidewalks along York Road were widened and brick-paved to protect the columns of the historic buildings along the short one-way street.

‘This was a unique project, given the existing roadway’s long history dating back to the 19th century when the alignment of Main Road was first formalised and road drainage installed after the rail line was constructed to Kalk Bay in 1882,’ said Councillor Herron.

The kerbs and channels, for example, are constructed from hand-hewn local sandstone. During the rehabilitation of this section of road, the stones were lifted, stored and reused in the vicinity where they were originally placed.

‘In fact, some of the stone kerbs and channels in the vicinity of the St James and Kalk Bay railway stations had not been touched for nearly 140 years – that is until we commenced with the rehabilitation project. As such, we took careful consideration of the history and heritage of this area during the design and subsequent rehabilitation works with the assistance of local residents and interest groups,’ said Councillor Herron.

The significance of this project is obvious given that Main Road is one of only three access routes to the far south and that it currently carries about 20 000 vehicles per day. Furthermore, the maintenance of existing infrastructure and assets counts among the key priorities in the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan.

‘We estimate that the investment in Main Road will extend the life cycle of the road by at least another 20 years without the need for major maintenance. I once again want to thank all of those who were involved – from our residents, local business owners and interested groups, to the contractors and the officials – for their patience, hard work and contribution,’ said Councillor Herron.

This post is sponsored by Chas Everitt Cape Town South

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