Rail Bridge over the Great Kei River
SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAYS AND HARBOURS: Engineer
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The railway line crossing the Kei had been carried - from 1907 to 1917 - on a timber bridge a few hundred metres downstream. Following the destruction of the timber bridge in a substantial flood, the railway line was re-routed over the adjacent road bridge.
As road traffic increased it was clearly problematic to continue this dual arrangement and the SAR&H decided in the mid 1940's to relocate a redundant railway bridge from a remote river crossing and re-erect it over the Kei.
Originally installed by the CAPE GOVERNMENT RAILWAYS over the Vaal River at Fourteen Streams, near Warrenton, the bridge was dismantled in 1946 and re-erected on this site, commencing in January 1947 and taking two and a half years to complete.
Nine lattice girder bridge sections, each spanning approximately 40.5 metres are supported on eight substantial cast in-situ concrete columns in the river bed. The first and last bridge sections are supported on the respective banks on a substantial cast in-situ concrete abutment.
The concrete work for the columns and abutments was carried out by the firm of BUCCIMAZZA & MORANTE. The dismantling and re-erection of the steel bridge sections was undertaken by the SA RAILWAYS & HARBOURS. The dismantled components of the bridge were set out on the north bank and the lattice girders bridge sections were assembled and launched from the north abutment.
The bridge forms an integral part of the Khomgha - Ndabakazi Section of the Amabele - Butterworth Railway.
(William MARTINSON, 2015)