South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) has awarded the construction of  US$130m N2 Wild Coast Bridge, to a joint venture between Austrian contractor Strabag and Aveng Grinaker, a Port Elizabeth-based civil engineer.

The bridge which was designed by Danish architect Dissing + Weitling, will have a cantilevered structure that will be 1.1km long and rise around 220m above the Mtentu river in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.

In a statement SANRAL commented that Strabag had “extensive experience in major balanced cantilever methodology bridge construction”. The agency also added that the N2 Wild Coast Bridge would be the first bridge in South Africa to be built on this scale.

Edwin Kruger, SANRAL’s Bridge Network Manager, in July said: “No South African firm has ever done a balanced cantilever bridge of this magnitude before. As such, South African tenderers have joint ventured with international firms to bring skills and expertise into the bridge’s construction.”

The bridge, which will be near the town of Xolobeni, will carry the N2 Wild Coast road and will shorten the route by 85km and cut travel time between the coastal cities of Durban and East London by up to three(3) hours for heavy freight vehicles.

South Africa’s Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has named the bridge and road a national priority and one of the 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) set to plan the country’s economic growth.

Construction of the bridge will start in early November and the project is expected to take about 40 months to complete.

The holder of the title of highest bridge in Africa at present is the 217m-high Bloukrans Bridge on the Western Cape.

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