Victoria Bridge - Kat River
ROYAL ENGINEERS: Architect
John E (Capt) WALPOLE: Supervising Engineer
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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).
Modification after flood damage (1876)
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)
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