WATCH: The V&A's new 55 ton swing bridge assembled, it will complete its rotation in 50 seconds

2019-05-28 05:30 - Selene Brophy
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The V&A Waterfront is part of a fully-fledged working harbour, yet it effortlessly offers visitors from near and far a world-class experience when it comes to entertainment, shopping, dining and accommodation. 

Congestion for such a popular attraction is obviously something that needs careful consideration - especially since the V&A Waterfront has been expanding rapidly over the last five years - the most recent being the opening of the Silo District and the fun Battery Park. 

This past weekend, the final installation stages of its new swing bridge, designed by SMEC South Africa, took place.

While the bridge itself has been six-years in designing, the construction process is finally coming to fruition - with the overall cost estimated to be about R20-million. The 55-ton bridge is an engineering feat when you consider something that is so heavy, will be able to do a full rotation in just on 50-seconds. 

Work on the new bridge began in late 2018, and requires two construction phases. Phase one was finished in February. The bridge will be out of commission during the second installation period, which commenced on 20 May,and is to be completed by 17 June. Although the completed bridge will require only two full days to be barged to the Cut and craned into place, time is required to first remove the old bridge, and to commission the new one.  Watch the video above for expert commentary and to see the bridge being hoisted into place. 

The new bridge will be opened to the public on 18 June 2019, just in time for the peak, mid-year school holiday period. 

READ: Day-tripping Cape Town: The Waterfront's trendy Silo District 

New swing bridge is being installed at the V& A Wa
New swing bridge is being installed at the V& A Wa
New swing bridge is being installed at the V& A Wa
New swing bridge is being installed at the V& A Wa

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Since January this year, close to one million people (865 595 at end April 2019) visitors crossed the old bridge. On average, 180 000 to 240 000 people cross the bridge every month all depending on the season, and events taking place on the property, says the V&A Waterfront. 

Double the size of the previous 2m bridge, this 4m bridge will ramp up capacity of the walkway that allows pedestrians to cross the stretch of water connecting the Pierhead Precinct and the Clock Tower Precinct - and further on to the new Silo District.

When required, the bridge is swung away to allow ships free passage on their journey to the sea.

The length of the new bridge remains unchanged at 42 meters, but a raised beam running down the centre of the bridge will encourage people to always enter the bridge to their left.

The new bridge, which rotates on one bearing similar to a crane tower, is mechanically advanced and will increase capacity during peak periods. Advanced technology will also ensure the bridge needs less down-time for mechanical maintenance. 

What alternatives are in place for pedestrians? 

While the bridge is under final construction, a ferry service will run between the Pierhead Deck and the Clock Tower building from 7:30am to 6:30pm while a My CiTi bus shuttle service will operate between the Bascule Bridge (close to the Cape Grace Hotel) and Silo Square from 6:30pm to 11:30pm.

In addition, the V&A Waterfront will ensure visitors also have the option of using Mellowcabs (an electric bicycle) which can be found at Noble Square and Silo Square or a bicycle, also found at the same locations.

All of the above services are free of charge. 

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