Mkomaas River Pedestrian Bridge

JG Afrika

SAICE Award: 2007-2008 Commendation for Technical Excellence
SAACE Award: 2007 Best Project with value less than R5 million
Fulton Award: 2007 Engineering Design Aspects

Client: KZN Department of Transport
Main Contractor: Sakhisizwe subcontracted to Somerset Oaks Trading 19
Sub-contractors: Infraset, Esor, Freyssinet

At 150 m in length, the Mkomaas River Pedestrian Bridge was the longest prestressed ribbon bridge in Africa, and equal to the longest in the world, in Bulgaria, when it was built in 2007. It has since been surpassed by the Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge.

The bridge was commissioned by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport when it came to their attention that children in the remote area could not get across the river to their school when the river was in flood.

Both the concept and design came from Corrie Meintjes, then a senior partner with JG Afrika, who determined that the most practical design for crossing the Mkomaas River was to construct a single span bridge. However, at the request of the community, he had to find an innovative design that would not sway like cable stay or suspension bridges do.

The prestressed ribbon bridge design he came up with was so innovative that it earned him the KZN Concrete Society’s Achiever of the Year Award for 2007. It consists of a ribbon of precast concrete elements that are post-tensioned to induce continuity in the deck, and are designed to remain in compression under design loads.