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Victoria Bridge - Kat River
Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape

Griffith George LEWIS: Engineer
ROYAL ENGINEERS: Architect
John E (Capt) WALPOLE: Supervising Engineer

Date:1844
Type:Bridge
Status:Extant
Street:Brug Street

 


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Coordinates:
32°46'59.85" S 26°37'25.71" E

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This bridge carries the Queen's Road, once an important military road across the Kat River. The foundation stone was laid in 1840 and the bridge was completed in 1844. (Richardson, 2001:17).

The bridge was the first use of 'Roman' (Portland) - rather than lime - cement in South Africa. [See for instance the use of the latter in the construction of the Road Bridge over the Buffeljags River - 'Sugar Bridge' (1852)]. The quoins and tail bond stones are cut and dressed while the rest are large, dressed to regular format. The voussoirs are of a regular depth of 900 mm. The structure is a segmental arch spanning 18 m with a 3,9 m rise. The centering was also designed by Lieutenant Colonel Lewis and made of local yellow-wood. When the centering was struck - a slow process over six hours - the settlement of the structure caused some alarm but the deflection was only 30 mm. The bridge stands to this day. (Walters, 2014: 72-73).

[Note: Most sources erroneously ascribe the design of this bridge to CJ SELWYN and its construction to Andrew Gueddes BAIN].

Modification after flood damage (1876)

Joseph NEWEY: Engineer
Robert Henry HAMMERSLEY-HEENEN: Resident Engineer (PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT of the CAPE COLONY)
Charles POPE: Contractor

Severe flooding of December 1874 damaged the bridge, washing away the parapet walls, road surface and approaches. The two arched and inverse arched side openings of the abutments were deemed insufficient for the free-flow of floodwaters and these waterways were rebuilt to NEWEY's recommendations for being widened towards the banks from 4,2 to 12 m. The stone parapet was replaced by sneeze wood railings. (Walters, 2014: 56)


Writings about this entry

Richardson, Deidré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 17
Walters, Dennis. 2014. Bridging the Eastern Cape : the life and work of Joseph Newey. East London: Coral Tree Press. pg 55, 57, 58, 59, 72-75