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Frere Bridge - Orange River
Aliwal North, Eastern Cape

Joseph NEWEY: Engineer



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30°41'08.29" S 26°42'19.21" E Alt: 1301m

The bridge was named for Sir Bartle Frere, then Governor of the Cape. The bridge over the Orange River at Aliwal North comprised thirteen 18.8 m (62 ft) spans of inverted girder steel trusses. These were supplied by the Crumlin Viaduct Works Company who had also contracted to manufacture, transport, erect and commission the completed works. The spans were intended to be supported on steel piers. After disputes on the advance payment of the full contractual amount was demanded by the contracting firm, their contract was terminated. The ironwork had lain in East London harbor from 1877 and in 1878 the company went into liquidation. The DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS of the CAPE COLONY undertook to complete the works. The piers, now to be of stone, were erected within timber lined coffer dams pumped free of water. The erection of the piers claimed the lives of three navvies when their boat overturned and they drowned. Construction was further impeded by a flood in the flow of the Orange River.

This bridge was replaced by the General Hertzog Bridge in 1935.

The two photographs on the left above, taken between 1881 and 1930, were submitted via William MARTINSON by Hannes van der Berg of the Aliwal North Museum in April 2014.

Writings about this entry

Walters, Dennis. 2014. Bridging the Eastern Cape : the life and work of Joseph Newey. East London: Coral Tree Press. pg 80, 82, 83, 120 B13