Franschhoek Pass

Franschhoek Pass closed after rockfalls caused by heavy rainfall. Image: Facebook/Overberg District Municipality.

Franschhoek Pass in Western Cape closed until mid-December

The Franschhoek Pass in the Western Cape was damaged by the severe storms in September this year and has been closed.

Franschhoek Pass

Franschhoek Pass closed after rockfalls caused by heavy rainfall. Image: Facebook/Overberg District Municipality.

The Franschhoek Pass, which connects Franschhoek and the towns of Grabouw and Villiersdorp, will be closed from Tuesday, 27 November, until 15 December.

This is due to construction work underway following severe storms and flooding that hit the province in September this year.


The severe storms and flooding negatively impacted several roads and recreational places, which caused significant damage, leading to temporary closures.

Western Cape Infrastructure MEC Tertuis Simmers said the closure of Franschhoek Pass will take effect from Mondays to Fridays between 8:00 and 17:00 from 28 November until 15 December 2023.

The pass will then be open from 15 December 2023 (with the proceed-when-safe arrangement and weight restriction) until 7 January 2024 and closed again from 8 January 2024 till the end of February 2024.

Franschhoek Pass
Aerial image of the Berg River Dam between Franschhoek and Paarl. Image: Daniel Saaiman/Creative Commons.

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Simmers said the pass was reopened to selected categories of light motor vehicles after it was closed following a severe weather system that hit the Western Cape. The teams started working on temporary repairs when the engineering team was satisfied that the landslips had stabilised sufficiently to start work.

He said the works had reached a point where the pass must be closed daily to initiate the soil-nailing (a technique used to stabilise existing slopes) process of phase 1.

“This soil reinforcement process uses metal tendons drilled and grouted into the soil to create something that represents a gravity wall. For this to be done, the pass needs to be closed due to the size of the equipment that is used and the size of the working area required.

“Light motor vehicles can traverse the pass outside of the closure times. The use of the pass, even when the pass is open, by vehicles with a mass of more than five tons remains strictly prohibited,” Simmers said.

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The MEC also expressed his concerns over the non-compliance of road users and advised them to continue using the alternative routes.

Simmers said some road users’ blatant disregard of road signs and restrictions is a serious concern.

“We have received numerous reports of interlink heavy motor vehicles accessing the pass despite clear signage prohibiting such acts.

“This reckless behaviour compromises the repair works and negatively impacts the entire repair process. A further concern is that should these trucks disregard the signage and get to the closure points during the closure periods, they will be stuck there until the road reopens because there isn’t any space to turn around,” he added.

Furthermore, the MEC acknowledged the inconvenience the closure has had on the local community and visitors, and the impact of the weight limitation; Simmers said that all road users’ safety remains a primary concern.

“Work on permanent repairs continues. The department foresees that it will still be a considerable period before the pass will allow two-way traffic,” he said.