Underground tunnels have recently been found below the surface of Johannesburg’s CBD.
A project is underway which could soon transform these underground tunnels into trendy, well-lit walkways, complete with coffee shops, urban landscaping and special public spaces catering for everyone in South Africa.
The tunnels were initially built in the 1930’s to transport mail from the post office efficiently throughout the city as well as to railway platforms at Park Station, all underneath the city. At the time, Joburg had one of the fastest mail systems in the country but delivery was restricted due to heavy traffic so this was the solution.
According to local websites, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) plans to commission a feasibility study to see if the old tunnels could be used to connect transport hubs and buildings within the city centre.
The Urbansoup Architects and Urban Designers, a South African based firm, have great plans to refurbish and create a lifestyle environment for the thousands of Joburg residents who would make use of these majestic underground tunnels.
The architects believe the tunnels could contribute to the urban regeneration and stitching together of city buildings and transport nodes of the new Kazerne and Park stations, as well as people who use the nearby Noord Street taxi facility.
So far, about 3 km of tunnels have been found, but it is suspected there could be more.
Rumour has it that the tunnels extend to Constitution Hill and that in the old days, prisoners were transported through them to and from the prison.
The concept whereby the tunnels will act as an urban regenerative spine will enhance the regeneration of both existing and new building stock in the Joburg inner city.
The intention is to make the tunnels a tourist destination and not only act as a connector.
The tunnels are currently closed off for security reasons but in the meantime imagine what an awesome addition to the city this could be!