This unique SA bridge was awarded 2019's National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark of the Year

2019-10-10 16:50
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Even abandoned, something can still remain beautiful - and one such architectural marvel received well-deserved accolades for creating a unique landscape on the Garden Route.

The Kaaimansrivier Railway Bridge in Wilderness was built in 1928, ferrying Outeniqua Choo Tjoe passengers to-and-fro across the waters below with breathtaking views of the valley. Unfortunately, floods in 2006 closed down its use and since has stood standstill instead as a tourist attraction rather than a functional route.

But it hasn't been forgotten, and on Wednesday it received a reward for its architectural prowess - the 2019 National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark of the Year.

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Awarded by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), a plaque was unveiled at Dolphin's Point overlooking the historic bridge, reported the  George Herald. The bridge was designed by then-Transnet and the resident engineer was NK Prette-John. 

This accolade could help boost tourism in the area, though it is advised not to walk on the bridge due to safety concerns.

The award is granted to landmarks that are over a hundred years old, still in existence and has made a notable contribution to the welfare and economy of a community. They should also be reasonably accessible to the public and have a well-recorded history.

Through the awards, recognition is given to the engineers as well as provide a platform for the preservation of these landmarks. 

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abandoned railway bridge in south africa

The Kaaimansrivier Railway Bridge. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Previous winners of the national award include the Van Stadens Weir and Dam and the Bloemspruit Canal, while the Woodhead Dam on Table Mountain - the first large masonry dam in South Africa - received the International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2008.

The next time you drive through the Garden Route, remember to add the Kaaimansrivier Railway Bridge to your itinerary.

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Check out South Africa's other engineering feats below.

Woodhead Dam

Place: Table Mountain, Cape Town

Built in: 1897

Van Stadens Weir and Dam

Place: Port Elizabeth

Built in: 1881 (Weir) and 1898 (Dam)

READ: Quick Guide to Madiba’s Long Walk to Freedom: Discover historic heritage in Port Elizabeth 


Bloemspruit Canal

Place: Bloemfontein

Built in: 1904

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