02 May Broken Bridge repaired
The so-called Broken Bridge in the Sterkstroom Valley got its name in 1995 after the original structure failed a year after being built.
Oom Hennie and his team then effected the running repairs that, with the odd patch here and there, lasted nigh on 15 years.
These however finally failed during the last rainy season and Broken Bridge was once more well and truly broken.
The primary concern when considering options concerning the repair of the bridge was to prevent further erosion of the northern bank. After lengthy deliberation, the original plan was to remove the remaining portion of the original concrete structure and erect a low-level flow-through rock bridge.
This would offer minimal resistance under normal flow conditions and would allow flood waters to flow down the main channel away from the northern bank. The idea was, however, promptly abandoned when the 18-ton excavator nearly tipped on its nose trying to remove the remaining concrete portion which we discovered comprises solid concrete and which we now expect will remain steadfastly and resolutely in place until the next millennium.
Plan B was adopted. This likewise entailed a flow-through rock bridge, but rather than a low-level structure, it was necessary to raise the level of the rock portion above that of the remaining concrete structure so as to divert flood waters over the concrete section and away from the northern bank. We now await the next floods with bated breath.