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Tugela River Pedestrian Bridge

Tugela River Pedestrian Bridge

Significantly improving a community’s quality of life

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport (KZN DoT) | South Africa | 2016-2017

First steel pedestrian suspension bridge in the Maphumulo district

180 metres long

Aon Engineering Excellence Award, Consulting Engineers South Africa

Challenges

The Mvumase community, located alongside the Tugela River in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is isolated from surrounding communities, schools, and local amenities.

There was no infrastructure that allowed residents to cross the Tugela River, which meant in order to get across the 150-meter-wide river, community members had to swim or wade across carrying their valuables in a bucket; sometimes resulting in loss of life due to strong currents and attacks by wildlife.

The project site was in a remote location with no formalized vehicle access to the site and no cellphone or GPS signal available due to the rural environment.

Solutions

Oversaw the full project life cycle, from feasibility and preliminary studies, to detailed design, to construction support, and finally to the project's close-out.

Special attention was given to the bridge's aesthetics to ensure harmony with the natural environment. This was achieved by incorporating special geometric considerations to the construction of slender structural elements, such as the suspension cable profile to mimic the surrounding mountainous terrain, the pigmented concrete deck to blend in with the natural soil color, and the stone-pitching of the concrete anchor blocks on either end of the bridge to allow the structural element to blend into the naturally-occurring rock protrusions.

Highlights

The Tugela River Pedestrian Bridge was officially completed and opened for public use in July 2017, helping to improve the quality of life for local residents through the implementation of infrastructure.

The impressive structure has an overall length of 180 meters and width of two meters, with towers that are nearly 27 meters high.

The new Tugela River Pedestrian Bridge is already a landmark structure in the Maphumulo district, and its impact is already inspiring young members from the community to aspire to build their own careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

The project won an Aon Engineering Excellence Award (projects under R50 million category) from Consulting Engineers South Africa. The project also received a special mention in the Professional Services category at the 2017 Construction World Best Projects Awards.

Project numbers

180 metres long
2 metres wide
27 metre high towers

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