How Chapman's Peak will be saved May 02 2002 at 09:30PM By Melanie Gosling Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the Cape's most scenic routes, will reopen in October next year after a R128-million reconstruction that will involve state-of-the-art engineering techniques, some of which have never been used on South African roads. Western Cape MEC for Transport Tasneem Essop said on Thursday the drive would reopen as a toll road with plazas at Hout Bay and Noordhoek. She said toll tariffs were still being negotiated with Capstone 252, the company established by the Concor consortium which has won the bid to rebuild and operate Chapman's Peak for 30 years. Essop said tariff proposals were R7,50 for a one-way trip in a light vehicle for people who used the road 20 times a month or more. The tariff proposed for infrequent users in a light vehicle was R17,50 for a one-way trip and R100 for tour buses. Vat would be added. There is also a proposal to ban cyclists from using Chapman's Peak Drive during peak hours, which is likely to be after 7am on weekdays and 8am on the weekends. Wynand Dreyer of Concor, who heads the Chapman's Peak project, said the reason for excluding cyclists at peak hours was because cars were unable to pass them on the narrow road. "That means if a cyclist is going at 20km/h, the rest of the traffic will have to go at the same speed," he said. Cyclists would not be charged the toll tariff, but motor cyclists would be charged. Pedestrians will not be allowed to use Chapman's Peak. Dreyer said Swiss consultants had guided the company on some of their designs. "Rockfall protection is uppermost in most people's minds and we have looked at Chapman's Peak metre by metre to identify the risky areas. We will be using a variety of techniques to prevent rockfalls, starting with barring down which means pushing the loose rocks off the cliffs," he said. This would be followed by rock bolting, which involves drilling through rocks and inserting bolts into them. "In some areas we will spray a mixture of concrete and sand onto the rocks to stabilise them. This will be colour coded to match the rock," Dreyer said. A new feature will be catch fences, a sophisticated Swiss design not used in this country before. They consist of interlocking rings of high tensile wire, designed to trap rocks as they fall, and are anchored into the rock by steel wire ropes. There will be 1,6km of catch fences in different sections that will be monitored and the fallen rocks removed. The fence will be coated with a brown substance to blend in with the surrounding rock. There will be two sections of cantilevered canopy over the road, totalling 80m, which will create a "roof" over motorists. As they will not be supported by columns, the view will not be obstructed. There will be a 155m "half tunnel" at the base of Chapman's Peak where the road will be built into the cliff, with the rock providing a roof but with the road open on the sea side. Improved drainage structures, retaining walls and picnic facilities will be built, and a seismic monitoring system installed. The toll plazas, one near East Fort on the Hout Bay side and the other near the kaolin mine at Noordhoek, will be clad with natural stone and the roofs planted with vegetation. There will be two "open days" on Chapman's Peak a year to accommodate the Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour. Tour buses will be able to use Chapman's Peak in a north-south direction only because of the narrowness of the road. The province will pay R70,5-million of the costs and construction will start in July. Chapman's Peak has been closed since January 2000 because of dangerous rockfalls which have killed two motorists and paralysed another in recent years.