Toppling towers in Cape Town

It's time to say goodbye to an obscured skyline when the Athlone Towers in Langa go down

So they're not going to paint them rainbow colours, they're going to blow them up. You heard right, the iconic Athlone Towers between Cape Town’s Lange township and Athlone are going down, safely and in a big cloud of dust on Sunday 22 August 2010.

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Video Demolition Athlone Towers:


Artistic video of the implosion of the towers from a very clear angle:


Another great video of the Demolition of the Athlone Towers in Cape Town


and another video of the towers going down:

Great video from inside the Athlone towers before the demolition: 

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continuation of the original article:
The City of Cape Town Communication Department has issued the following guidelines and precautions to help your day run smoothly viewing the demolition of the towers.

Watch the Athlone towers go down from afar

An exclusion zone of 300 metres around the Athlone Cooling Towers will be enforced, with strictly no access within. Although it has been said that there will be no spectator value, the Howard Centre in Pinelands may be the best place for curious residents to watch from. Just make sure you get there super early.

Handy hint: wherever you are, try video instead of stills images to capture the moment. A moving memory is going to be appropriate in this case.

Safety during the Athlone Towers demolition

All possible measures are being taken to ensure that the debris will not spread. Medical, security and armed forces will be present to maintain safety. 135 decibels means earplugs are required if witnessing the event outside. Keep pets indoors during the blast or consult a vet.

Residents of the surrounding areas who suffer from medical conditions such as respiratory problems are encouraged to rather stay indoors during the implosion, and for about an hour afterwards. There is no asbestos in the towers.

Road closures on Sunday 22 August 2010

It is illegal to park on bridges or on freeways, just as it is illegal for pedestrians to walk along freeways. These laws will be strictly enforced on Sunday 22 August to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and the safety of all residents and motorists.

Parts of the N2, M17 (Jan Smuts Drive) and Metrorail line between Langa and Pinelands station will be closed for part of the day. Other road closures may be necessary to avoid gridlock in the area. Details and alternative routes below.

1. Closure of the N2 freeway

The N2 (Settler’s Way) will be closed between the M5 (Black River Parkway) and the M7 (Vanguard Drive) from 11:00 until approximately 13:00. The road will be re-opened as soon as it has been deemed clear and safe for use.

Pinelands residents who need to access Raapenberg Road from the N2 outbound will still be allowed past the road block at the M5, but no one will be allowed on the N2 past the Raapenberg turn-off.

No motorists will be allowed on the N2 inbound past Vanguard Drive and the Vanguard Drive off-ramp onto the N2 inbound will be closed. Langa residents will need to use Washington Street at Vanguard Drive to enter and exit Langa.

Alternative routes for the N2

Motorists leaving the city centre are advised to avoid the N2 and to rather travel on the N1, if their destination is east of Athlone. Officers will redirect motorists travelling on the N2 outbound onto the M5 north, from where they can access the N1, and travel back to the N2 via Vanguard Drive.

Even though the route via the M5 and N1 is a greater distance, it will still be quicker to follow this route than to travel through the suburbs to access the N2 past Vanguard Drive. Using the identified detour will also avoid any traffic problems in urban areas and smaller roads.

2. Closure of the M17 (Jan Smuts Drive)

Jan Smuts Drive will be closed to all traffic (pedestrian and vehicular) between Klipfontein Road in the South and Viking Way in the north from 11:00 until approximately 13:00. The road will be re-opened as soon as it has been deemed clear and safe for use.

People travelling on Jan Smuts Drive from the South towards the N2 will be stopped at Klipfontein Road, but residents of the Bokmakierie and Hazendal areas who need to access their homes via Jan Smuts Drive north of Klipfontein Road will be allowed past the road block. No one will be allowed to travel north on Jan Smuts Drive past 12th Avenue, next to the entrance of the City’s Athlone Waste Water Treatment Plant.

In the Pinelands area, no one will be allowed to travel in a southerly direction on Jan Smuts Drive past the Viking Way turn-off.

Alternative routes for the M17

Motorists travelling north on Jan Smuts Drive towards the N2 will be redirected onto Klipfontein Road to access either the M5 in the west to travel towards the N1, or Vanguard Drive in the east to access the N2 towards the airport.

Those travelling on Jan Smuts Drive in a southerly direction from Pinelands will be redirected onto Viking Way, which will take them to Vanguard Drive. Motorists travelling in a westerly direction on Viking Way towards Jan Smuts Drive, will not be able to turn left into Jan Smuts Drive (south), but will be redirected onto Jan Smuts Drive north through Pinelands towards Berkley Road and the M5.

 3. Rail closure

Between 11:00 and 14:00, all trains on the Kapteinsklip Line will be rerouted to operate via the Maitland link between Salt River and Mutual, both directions. Once the line has been declared safe, Metrorail will resume the service as per the normal train schedule for the Kapteinsklip Line. Trains on the Cape Flats Line will not be affected by the demolition of the Athlone towers and will operate according to schedule.

Security guards will be deployed between Langa and Pinelands station on the rail line to prevent people from walking along side the rail environment. The Railway Police from the South African Police Service will also be out in full force to prevent any pedestrian crossing the railway lines.

4. Air space closure

The airspace around the Athlone Cooling Towers has been restricted and non-scheduled flight operations by private aircraft are prohibited to operate within these declared restricted areas.

The commercial airlines flights will not be affected, however, passengers, shuttles, tour operators and taxis that will be travelling to the airport to depart from Cape Town International Airport are encourage to familiarise themselves with the alternative transportation arrangements and to leave early in order to not miss their flights.


The Crystal Towers Hotel at Century City has an unobstructed view of the Athlone Towers. Why not watch the demolition from here and combine it with a Turkish Rasul experience at the hotel's Life Day Spa?

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