The swing bridge connecting the Waterfront’s Clocktower precinct and Silo District to the Victoria Wharf Mall was officially opened last week.
The R20 million bridge replaces the old one, which was built in 1997 and had reached the end of its lifespan.
The old bridge was dismantled and removed to make space for the new two way, four-metre wide bridge (“In with the new”, CapeTowner, May 30, 2019) which was put in place earlier this year.
Since then, engineers having been working to ensure it was properly functional before officially opening it on Thursday July 11.
Engineer John Anderson said they were delighted that, despite the challenges, the new bridge was in place just two years after they started planning to replace the old one.
“We hope the new bridge becomes a landmark in the Waterfront, just like the old one,” he said, adding that ensuring minimal disruption during construction, had been a major challenge.
The new bridge, he said, had been built in a factory in Blackheath and assembled in the Waterfront. It works with a slew bearing – a large gear – turned by four large hydraulic machines – and takes seconds to turn when a boat has to pass through.
During the opening, Mayor Dan Plato said the V&A Waterfront was one of the biggest tourism hubs, and a central place where locals and tourists could take sightseeing trips, boat cruises, and enjoy cultural experiences, shopping and entertainment.
“I am pleased to see that the V&A Waterfront management continue to invest in the space to support its growing appeal and contribute positively to the city’s economic growth and performance.”
Waterfront CEO, David Green, added: “From the day the swing bridge opened in December 1997, it has been an irresistible attraction, coping with footfall growth that has doubled with the new developments of the Silo District, as the most direct route to the heart of the Waterfront.”
The new swing bridge is 42 metres long, was built from steel and has a two-way pedestrian crossing. It can also operate in wind speeds of up to 60km/hour and can withstand the impact of a passing vessel and swing to free itself to protect the mechanism.