Durban‘s 2010 FIFA World Cup Moses Mabhida stadium is to feature a cable car, which will run along the 106-m high arch spanning the length of the pitch.

The cable car will arrive from Italy at the end of March.

eThekwini municipality strategic project unit and 2010 programme head Julie-May Ellingson says the cable car will be able to carry 25 people up to a viewing platform situated at the highest point of the 2 900-t arch.

The more adventurous visitor will be able to walk the 550 steps up the arch to the viewing deck, while secured in a safety harness.

“The cable car is to serve as a tourist attraction, and a revenue stream for the city,” explains Ellingson.

She adds that the cable car has never been part of the R2,2-billion stadium budget, and that the R35-million project will be funded from the city’s 2010 tourism budget.

Construction of the stadium is to be completed in September.

The eThekwini municipality has a R5-billion 2010 FIFA World Cup capital budget, with ten professionals driving the infrastructure programme.

“We want activity here seven days a week,” says Ellingson of the stadium. “We want it to be used wider than the [2010] event.”

To aid the city in its goal, the stadium will also feature a restaurant and 7 200 m2 of retail space.

Ellingson’s unit is looking at securing two anchor tenants, namely a convenience store and a sporting goods retailer.

She also notes that the stadium will feature 16 000 temporary seats for the FIFA event, taking the stadium to a 70 000-seater structure.

“In what is called legacy-mode, the stadium will have 56 000 permanent seats. We can’t fill 70 000 seats on a weekly basis.”

However, the Moses Mabhida stadium was also constructed in such a way that it can be extended to an Olympic-size 85 000 seats, and that it can accommodate not only soccer, but also rugby and athletics.

“We can’t afford to build a stadium for only one sports code,” notes Ellingson.

DURBAN TAKES AIM AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES

The driver behind building the Moses Mabhida stadium in such a way that it can be expanded to a 85 000-seater facility, is a plan by the eThekwini Municipality to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.

However, it is not all set in stone.

“Bidding for the Olympics is a national government decision, not a city decision – but we want to be ready. If national government gives the okay, we need to put in our bid in 2012,” says Ellingson.

“The thing is, these days, you must have 40% of your infrastructure in place before you can bid for the Olympics.”

Ellingson says Durban’s Kings Park precinct, where the Moses Mabhida stadium is located, already plays host to many sport stadiums, including swimming, archery, athletics, cycling, as well as sites for canoeing and equestrian events.

The greater Moses Mabhida stadium precinct will include two training fields, a one-kilometre track, a playground, parking, change-rooms, fountains and a heroes-walk, featuring South African sporting icons.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Irma Venter
DATED: 19th March 2009