The Chapman’s Peak Drive has been closed until further notice.
This comes after a six ton wedge of weathered siltstone/ sandstone became dislodged from a cliff edge and partially imbedded itself on the ledge below the cliff. The wedge is precariously balanced on the ledge and high rainfall or strong wind could cause it to tumble down. The wedge could land between the first and middle field of catch fence three if it falls and it could damage the intermediate post in the process.
Inspection by the concessionaire, that is managing the drive on behalf of the Department of Transport and Public Works, shows that the wedge is poised to fall down in spite of still being attached to the cliff edge. Investigations showed it is being held by the figurative thread. Inspections showed that there is no guarantee that the catch fences will be able to contain such a fall and that the debris might breach the fence, especially if any of the support ropes are severed.
It is too risky to operate the pass at the moment. The Department has recommended that whilst the pass is closed the remaining part of the unstable wedge that is still attached to the cliff edge be brought down by careful and judicious scaling. Experienced rope access technicians will be used.
The cliff would need to be inspected and all other remaining loose blocks barred down. The fallen six ton rock wedge on the ledge would also need to be broken up and the bigger pieces produced in the process allowed to fall down in a controlled manner. Cleaning out and possible repair work to catch fence three might be required hereafter. Once this is complete, the pass may be opened for traffic.
The Department estimates a two days closure at this stage. The drive will be re-opened once deemed safe for motorists and other road users. The safety of road users is the highest priority. The Department requests road users to use Old Kaapse Weg as an alternative route.