ZAR Road Bridge over the Spekboom River (Steenkamp Bridge)
Mattheus Carel August MEISCHKE: Contractor
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11km from Lydenburg on the R36 North.
The Bridge is located on the farm 'Potloodspruit'. Its original construction comprised an steel arched structure with steel deck spanning 30m with a passage width of 7m. The sub-structure was built of hard 'blue-stone'. The bridge over the Spekboom river was taken into use on 27 June 1897 and was used until 1965 when it was replaced by the new road bridge. Two stone pillars originally supported the steel deck. The bridge was named after Helgard P. Steenkamp, member of the Executive Committee of the Volksraad and Commander of the Lydenburg Commando.
During the Second War of Independence (1899-1902) part of the steel deck was deliberately damaged by the Boer Commandos under General Ben Viljoen to hinder the British who had occupied Lydenburg in 1900, particularly in them reaching Pilgrims Rest where he had his headquarters. In 1903 it was replaced with stone by the PWD and renamed the Spekboom Bridge. It was declared a national monument in 1973 under its original historically correct name, Steenkamp's Bridge. sections of the original bridge found their way into the town of Lydenburg where for a while the railings served as barriers on the De Clerque Street Bridge, as barriers at the road closure of Viljoen Street, and some as part of a cattle crush on the farm 'Potloodspruit' where it stands.
[Information supplied by the Lydenburg Museum]
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