Chapmans Peak Drive Upgrade
Catch fences on the mountainside above the road
Chapman's Peak drive was originally built way back in 1922. It was then called the Hout bay Noorde Hoek Road. The drive is considered to be one of the most scenic in the world. It attracted tourists from all over the world who drove around its narrow roads and saw some of the fantastic scenery on offer. All this came to an end on the 29th of December 1999 when a falling rock brought about the untimely death of a Noordhoek resident.
Cliffs and hairpin bends
Some more of the new catch fences
Why was this road suddenly unsafe for motorists when for 77 years
this road had been used daily with only a few casualties over that period.
A few months prior to December 1999 Cape Town had been ravaged by
a number of uncontrollable bush fires. One of them ravaged
Chapman's Peak and cleared it of all vegetation.
Due to the lack of vegetation there was nothing to bind the rocks
in place so they rained down onto the roadway.
It was obviously very unsafe so the Premier of the Cape closed the
road to the public in January 2000.
Cliffs below the road
Looking down one of the cliff faces onto the sea below
As the loss of this tourist attraction to the tourist industry took hold there was more clamouring to get the road reopened. In 2001 the Cape Provincial Roads Administration took over the project of rebuilding the road. Tenders were put out and two consortiums were instructed to put in their final proposals for the reconstruction and protection of the road. Once their proposals had been studied and accepted the chosen consortium set to work. They put abseilers up on the mountain slopes to loosen all rocks that might slide down onto the road way.
The new roof over the roadway
This section of reinforced roofing built to stop rocks landing on the road.
Once this was completed a section of the cliff face had to be
cut away to form a roof over the roadway so that falling rocks
would not land on traffic.
In other areas catch fences had to be erected to stop large
boulders from rolling down the mountain onto the road.
Most of the work was completed and the road was reopened to
the public in December 2003.
Another view of the tunnel
The new portion of roadway where the cliff faces were hollowed ou
The most dangerous areas have been identified and catch fences
have been erected to stop the rock falls in these.
The mountain side is now much safer for visitors and due to the
measures taken the best scenery in the world has once again
been restored to visitors and locals.
Some of the scenery they will see
Another view down onto the sea from the road
If you don't mind walking, a hike along the roadway is possible
from the lookout point towards Noordhoek.
One can get some close up views of the scenery and the improvements
that have been made if you do this.
Chappies is open and waiting for your visit.
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