The Nelson Mandela BridgeParis has its Eiffel Tower, New York its Statue of Liberty, Sydney its Harbour Bridge. And downtown Johannesburg has the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge. Named after the man who led South Africa across the apartheid divide, the bridge was opened by Nelson Mandela in July 2003. Crossing no less than 46 operational railway lines, the 284-metre-long bridge is largest cable-stayed bridge in southern Africa. Designed by Dissing+Weitling, the bridge has won numerous awards, including the South African Institute of Civil Engineering award for technical excellence.
- Read more: Award for Mandela Bridge
Facts about the bridgeNelson Mandela Bridge carries two lanes of traffic and has two sidewalks for pedestrians as well as a cycle path, with a continuous toughened glass parapet to ensure pedestrian safety. According to Construction Weekly:
- The asymmetrical dual-pylon cable-stay bridge is made up of a 66-metre north back span, a 176-metre main span and a 42-metre south back span, giving a total length of 284 metres.
- The north pylon is 42-metres high and the south pylon 27-metres high, creating a delicate balance and an interesting visual appeal.
- The main span was built as light as possible, using structural steel with a concrete composite deck, while the heavier back spans were built from reinforced concrete to counterbalance the long main span.
- The bridge is supported on the largest pot bearings ever to be installed in South Africa. The 1.5-metre diameter bearings, which have a capacity of up to 27 Mn, are designed to accommodate the large temperature movements of the bridge.
- Approximately 4 000 cubic metres of concrete and 1 000 tons of structural steel were used to construct the bridge, with around 500 tons of reinforcing steel cast into the concrete.
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