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Old October 25th, 2007, 01:34 AM   #1
romanSA
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#Unity Bridge - Bay of Natal | Proposed

Okay, now that I've learned how to post pics, I thought I would share one of the most exciting proposals to ever come from the eThekwini Municipality, and from South Africa.

Those who have ever travelled along the Victoria Embankment will know the terrible traffic this landmark street is often plagued by. Currently, it is the fastest entry point into the city for South Basin residents, and for many of those entering the city from the M4 South. With traffic congestion only getting worse, the eThekwini Municipality has proposed the building of a massive bridge across the harbour that will give South Basin residents a quicker, direct route into the city centre, and onto the M4 North, should that be their ultimate location. From the renders the bridge would seemingly start from Salisbury Island (presumably linked to the Bluff from there) and touch down near the entrance to the current passenger terminal (virtually opposite John Ross house), and presumably link up with the erstwhile Stanger Street.

The Unity Bridge is currently at the concept stage but was first mooted in 2004. In fact, in his State of eThekwini speech in February 2004, the Mayor stated that the council was doing "serious thinking around the Unity Bridge".

See:

http://www.durban.gov.za/durban/gove...s/2004/address

In January 2005 the city released its long-term strategic plan, intended to transform the city forever. Reference was made in this plan to the Unity Bridge. The media report describing the plan had this to say about the Unity Bridge:

"If it is approved, the proposal would also transform the appearance of Durban Bay, where a towering "unity bridge" would cross over the harbour waters to link up with the central business district."

The Unity Bridge is currently one of the focus projects of the city's Strategic Projects Branch (along with, amongst other major exciting initiatives, "development of the Bluff Headlands for public access").

See:

http://www.durban.gov.za/durban/serv...rvices_news/dd

The above page was last updated on September 26, 2007.



Now for the renders. Prepared to be blown away!!!! Move over Sydney Harbour....



-------------------------------------------------

Unity Bridge - Bay of Natal, Durban























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Old October 25th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #2
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Okay, let's start the discussion on this exciting proposal.

Seen in the context of the proposed R1b Esplanade Waterfront, current Wilson's Wharf, nearby R6 b Point Waterfront (estimated value, to date, excluding new developments), and proposed landmark peace centre at the Bluff headland, if the Unity Bridge development goes ahead (I think the mooted cost in 2004 was R1b; undoubtedly gone up since then given sky-rocketing construction costs), and the Durban harbour will be unbeatable as a location, rivaling Sydney's.

More than that, the bridge will become an instant icon for the city, like Sydney's harbour bridge and San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge. Add to the equation Durban's iconic new stadium (with arch cableway), proposed revamped Golden Mile (from Suncoast to Ushaka, including plans for Addington Hospital site and Pavillion site at North beach), proposed Africa Square near the ICC, and Durban is going to stake its claim as the best inner city in SA.

I am really excited at the prospect of this being built (even if it's in the next 7 years), given the Municipality's seeming intent to pursue it.

Can you imagine the prices of apartments on the Esplanade (and Point Waterfront, for example, from Spinnaker) if this goes ahead? The views of the new Esplanade Waterfront, the Unity Bridge, and the busiest harbour in Africa, would be mind-boggling.

What think you people?

Last edited by romanSA; October 25th, 2007 at 01:54 AM.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #3
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Yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about. Love it, love it and love it more

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Old October 25th, 2007, 03:52 AM   #4
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I'm curious to know whether this bridge is even still under consideration, given the proposed expansions and changes to the Harbour in general, and Salisbury Island and Bayhead in particular.

It's a nice design. The cable-stay is obviously the flavour of the decade, so this isn't anything unique or ground-breaking. But it's a nice design.

I'm not wild about the design in this spot, however. The Sydney Harbour and Golden Gate bridges fit almost naturally into their settings. This proposed bridge sticks out like a sore thumb. There are no natural features on either shore to frame the bridge, leaving it exposed from an aesthetic point of view. Based purely on visual effects, it looks contrived - 'Oh, let's put a bridge here.' It appears to link nothing to nothing. Obviously that's not the case from a logistical point of view, because there is a need to get from the south to the CBD and beyond without driving all the way to the Southern Freeway. But from a purely visual point of view, the bridge seems out of place.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #5
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what for? what traffic will go from the city to sailsbury island?

What a waste of money if it ever sees the light of day, remeber its taken 25 years to get the airport to happen and that was needed as long ago as 1995
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Old October 25th, 2007, 08:18 AM   #6
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Yeh its blown me away, but Umhlanga just pointed out most of the points that I was going to post.

Forgetting the fact that numerous taxi's will be flying over the side because of the headless driving antics, the bridge is really big & needs to be, the height that it needs to be over the harbour to allow passing ships through is the cause of this. As the renders show if it is built, it will be one of Durbans tallest structures. Ive never travelled much to to the Bluff so wouldnt know the about the volume of traffic, sure it will cut down the numbers on the southern freeway (at the moment Durbans deadliest freeway), but where exactly will it come out, because at the moment it looks like it comes down to the island right at the port, I would rather see part of the hill blown off & it some how feeds into Bluff hill, just a thought.

Its a nice development & sure will help out, but as Giles pointed out, will it ever happen?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #7
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From what I understand, the bridge is intended to service residents of the Bluff and surrounding areas, who currently have to loop around the bay to get to the CBD.

Umhlanga, if you look at images of the bay from above, you'll see that it's not a contrived connection but logically connects the two closest points of the bay. Regarding who will use the bridge to/from the city centre, the population of the South Basin is approximately 285,000. Tens of thousands of people from those areas come to the CBD (and Berea, Durban North, and Umhlanga) everyday and are forced to use the congested M4 South, or travel further south to the airport, to join up with the N2. I have friends who live on the Bluff and they speak about the nightmare traffic conditions they have to endure, particularly at peak times.

I have personally driven on Edwin Swales Drive on many occassions (I drive from Umbilo to the airport, via Sydney Road, turn-off onto Edwin Swales, and then join the M4 South) and it's constantly clogged by hundreds of trucks servicing the harbour. I imagine the prospect of not having to compete with trucks for Edwin Swales Drive will mean the bridge will be well utilised.

Regarding its entry and exit paths, I have borrowed some images from the Durban Harbour thread, showing how it links the 2 closest points in the harbour, and its location in regard to the proposed Bahead expansion, which it seemingly doesn't affect. In fact, the bridge will free up / ease the traffic burden on Edwin Swales Drive for the Bayhead expansion. A further benefit would be that Edwin Swales will service the harbour traffic while the bridge will service residents traffic.


First pic: current harbour layout.





Second pic: Current harbour layout with orange line showing probable entry / exit points and route of proposed bridge; purple shows the long route (along Edwin Swales Drive, M4South, and Esplanade) many South Basin residents must take to get to the CBD; green lines show part of the area the bridge will service.





Pic 3: pic of harbour from different angle showing proximity of pier (where bridge would touch down) to Salisbury Island(the other touch-down point).




Pic 4: pic of current harbour at Bayhead.





Pic 5: render of proposed Bayhead expansion. I would imagine the bridge would have to link with the proposed Edwin Swales link road at the top of the pic. Also, the last 2 pics show the huge residential area in the background the bridge will service. I personally don't think it will be a waste of money.



Last edited by romanSA; October 25th, 2007 at 11:02 AM.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #8
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ya and a bridge is cheaper than a tunnell which will have to become bayhead rd if and when this port expaosion goes ahead. Make sence now but also makes me wonder if its just a bit too big and how will it ever be funded?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:45 PM   #9
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looks like Anzac bridge in Sydney and I lived in Pyrmont oin the water at jacksons landing which had a s[pectacular view of the bridge
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Old October 25th, 2007, 09:52 PM   #10
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RomanSA, read carefully what I wrote. I never said the need for the bridge is contrived. I said the design looks contrived from an aesthetic perspective. The bridge simply doesn't fit in this spot, from a 'looks' point of view, because it appears to connect nothing to nothing. It looks out of place. That's why I say it is aesthetically contrived. I can't deny that the traffic demand exists. (There are an awful lot of people on one side of the nothing, and an awful lot of jobs on the other.) And a north-south route that bypasses the CBD and Warwick would be great. I think the bridge covers a great route, I just dislike the design in this spot. A tunnel would be more expensive, but would look better, since there'd be nothing to see.

Also, as the aerial shots & harbour plans show, the approach spans would take up space on Pier 1, which was just upgraded because Durban badly needs more space for containers. That's why in my original post I wondered how, and if, this proposed bridge can fit with the NPA's harbour plans. Again, a tunnel would be better.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #11
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The height that this bridge will reach is pretty high, take alook at the size of certain container ships under it, its massive! easily could be Durbans Tallest structure. The only problem I have with it right now, is that the gradients are abit too steep.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #12
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would be nice if the had blue and purple lights my 50 cents 4 the day
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Old October 29th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #13
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From my knowledge on this project, it is part of a wider redevelopment of the transport corridors in the south of Durban. it is the key cog in all of it.

The following road projects are planned, hopefully they will make the need for the bridge clearer.

1) A new link road between the m4 and n2 to alliviate pressure on edwin swales

2) This new road will then extend through the south basin communities (properties will be demolished to make way for it.

3) it will then provide additional truck transport links, as trucks are to be banned from certain roads in the area.

4) the m4 entrance to victoria embankment is chaos and an alternate route to the point/cbd is needed

5) the road is also needed in terms of transport access to the point. if access is improved, developments will be granted greater bulk allowances, hence higher rates for the city and a more dense area.

6) Victoria embankment is to be limited to traffic in the future, with less lanes and greater public ways, making the area more pedestrianised. hence the new bridge/road will allow this to happen

all in all a well thought out project. and the design will change many times i'm sure.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #14
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Thanx for the info Mike, but when will the Vic Embarkment and Unity Bridge projects start and their expected completion?
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Old October 30th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #15
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Im guessing a project like this will take about 2 years, or less, with a busy harbour like Durbans they cannot afford to have long shut downs. Watch extreme engineering the episode of the building of the Hakashi Kao bridge, that will give some idea on how they will go at building this monster.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:43 PM   #16
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Ja, I'm with DB that the bridge itself shouldn't take long. It's not a particularly extreme site, and the design is tried and true, nothing revolutionary.

The more significant hurdles will be funding and approval (from DEAT and NPA at the least).

As Roman's original post shows, the City mooted the bridge idea several years ago. Roman's 2nd link points to an article on the City's website that was posted 22 months ago. (The webpage containing the article was updated just over a month ago. But it is unclear whether that update was to the article's content, or was just an update to the webpage itself. And even if the update was to the article content, the article mentions the proposed bridge just once) A search for Unity+Bridge on the Durban website returns just 3 relevant results: 1 is a bad link, and the other 2 are the links found by Roman. (Searches for Harbour+Bridge and Bay+Bridge yield nothing new.) So there has been very little recent, public mention of this bridge proposal by the City.

So, Pule, unfortunately your question doesn't have an answer yet, because there's been no formal proposal for funding or approval for the bridge.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #17
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I hope this bridge goes ahead.. It will do wonders for the CBD. Its amazing how many projects are going up in durbs.

Im holding thumbs for this one.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 08:29 AM   #18
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We all will be, sent a mail to Dbn council, Im not holding me breath
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Old December 30th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #19
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Gents, whats happening on this one?
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Old December 31st, 2007, 01:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pule View Post
Gents, whats happening on this one?
its been bandied about for years, no idea
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