South Africa to build new mega-bridge by 2026: minister

The South African government has identified the N2 national Wild Coast road network as one of its key Strategic Integrated Projects to catalyse economic growth at a national, provincial and local level, said Transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

In a briefing on Thursday (23 September), Mbalula said that the project will deliver a national route that improves access to the eastern coastal region of South Africa.

The project will also see the construction of two mega-bridge structures on the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers, seven additional major river bridges and several interchange bridges, as well as new intersections, interchanges, pedestrian walkways and agricultural under and overpasses, he said.

Key to the project is the new Mtentu mega-bridge project, which was originally scheduled to begin construction in 2019, but has been delayed by community unrest, said Mbalula.

The project, which is valued at approximately R3.5 billion, will be the highest in Africa and one of the longest main-span balanced cantilever bridges in the world, with a main span of 260 metres at a maximum height of around 223 metres.

The bridge is anticipated for completion at the end of 2025 or early 2026, he said.

The N2 Wild Coast Road, which stretches 410 km from the Gonubie Interchange in East London to the Mtamvuna river near Port Edward, will shorten the current distance by 85 kilometres in comparison to the current route.

This will mean a travel time saving of between one-and-a-half to three hours for road-users once it is completed saving the economy R1.5 billion annually, Sanral has said.

“The completed road will also mean improved connectivity between South Africa and the neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho,” Mbalula said.

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South Africa to build new mega-bridge by 2026: minister