The spectacular Nelson Mandela Bridge, one of Johannesburg’s newest landmarks, has been given an award for outstanding civil engineering achievement by the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE).
The Nelson Mandela Bridge was judged to be “the most outstanding civil engineering project achievement in the technical excellence category” for 2003, and also won the SAICE Award of the Century in the construction category.
The largest cable-stayed bridge in southern Africa, opened by Nelson Mandela on 20 July 2003, cost R38-million and took about two years to construct.
The bridge is part of a R300-million inner city renewal programme spearheaded by Blue IQ, a Gauteng provincial economic development initiative, though the project was handled by the Johannesburg Roads Agency.
The 295-metre bridge crosses over 40 railway lines to link Braamfontein in the north with the Johannesburg central business district and Newtown to the south.
The bridge is aesthetically positioned between two other major developments in Johannesburg’s “cultural arc” – the Newtown Cultural Precinct and the Constitutional Hill Precinct in Braamfontein – carrying two lanes of traffic, two sidewalks for pedestrians and a lane for bicycles.
The asymmetrical dual-pylon cable-stay bridge is made up of a 66-metre north back span, a 176-metre main span and a 42-metre south back span, giving a total length of 284 metres. The north pylon is 42 metres high and the south pylon 27 metres high, creating a delicate balance and an interesting visual appeal.
Approximately 4 000 cubic metres of concrete and 1 000 tons of structural steel were used to construct the bridge, with around 500 tons of reinforcing steel cast into the concrete.
The award, a mountable inscribed plaque, was presented to the project managers of the bridge at a function in Midrand, Johannesburg on 27 October.
The SAICE, founded in 1903, is a voluntary organisation with 8 000 members from the civil engineering industry. The body promotes the improvement of quality within the industry, offering capacity building programmes and rewarding good practice.
Source: City of Johannesburg