Bridges of Tsitsikamma
Monday, 27th September 2021
Storms River Bridge
The Storms River Bridge was one of the first arch bridges in South Africa with a span of 100m over the gorge at a height of 123m above the river. In 1954 a Roman professor was appointed to construct a bridge over the Storms River to link Port Elizabeth to George via the N2.
Completed in 1956, the Ricardo Morandi designed bridge was built 15 years prior to Van Stadens and 28 years before the 3 Bloukrans-area arches came along in 1984. Storms River is unusual for having inclined spandrel supports that radiate out from the main arch rib. The approach supports are also inclined in the opposite direction - balancing out the profile of the entire bridge.
The Bloukrans arch bridge is the highest on the entire continent of Africa with a deck 216m above the bottom of the gorge. Located on the N2, the 2-lane route also has several other spectacular and high concrete arch bridges including the Van Stadens, Storms River, Groot River and Bobbejaans River bridges.
This is also the only highway in the world outside of China or Italy to have 3 bridges in excess of 152m in height. When it opened in 1984, the Bloukrans also held the record for being the world’s highest concrete arch bridge. It is the home of the world’s highest commercial bungy jump.
The span was constructed using the stayed cantilever method whereby a tower is erected on either side of the gorge and cables temporarily radiate out from it to support individual sections of the arch until the two halves can be joined in the middle. The South African engineering firm of Liebenberg and Stander was responsible for the design.