This relatively new pass was constructed between 1984 and 1988 at the then staggering cost of R125,000,000. Leading up to the Huguenot Tunnel from its western side, is the awe-inspiringly beautiful, high-altitude Hugosrivier Viaduct (the first of its kind to be built in South Africa!) The bridge is simultaneously curved, rising and cambered - constructed by the incremental method. It soars high above the farm-patchworked Hugosrivier Valley. The 4 km-long tunnel reduced the distance of the old pass by 11 km.
The scenery along the pass is amongst the best in the Western Cape and it's arguably the finest pass mountain pass along the entire N1. During the winter rainfall season there are several waterfalls to be seen, some of them falling from such great heights that they disintegrate into mist before reaching the bottom. For most of the eastern section of the pass, the road follows the course of the Molenaars River, making it more of a poort than a pass, but once the Huguenot Tunnel is reached, the road burrows straight through the mountain and then descends rapidly towards the Paarl Valley.
Despite the fabulous scenery, the road carries heavy traffic and trucking accidents are a regular occurence. Most accidents occur on either side of the tunnel, rather than inside it. Drivers need to remain very alert on the pass and note that the maximum speed limit is 100 kph and at other times as low as 60 kph. Speed limits inside the tunnel may vary based on current traffic conditions. At the time of writing (2022) there is a new project to open up the second tunnel to traffic, which will allow double lanes of traffic in each of the dedicated directional tunnels. This new project should take about 3 years to complete.
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