THE collapsed road connecting to the Zwelethemba bridge, over the Hex River, in the Breede Valley Municipality. Picture: Supplied.
THE collapsed road connecting to the Zwelethemba bridge, over the Hex River, in the Breede Valley Municipality. Picture: Supplied.

Hex River Bridge to be reopened this week if the weather permits

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

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Cape Town - After calls for a full investigation into the collapse of the road leading to the Zwelethemba bridge, over the Hex River in the Breede Valley, a report was compiled that made a series of recommendations for the repair and strengthening of the bridge.

Municipality spokesperson JP Myburg said the severe weather conditions experienced during the height of winter ultimately contributed to the destruction of Raymond Pollet Road, the connecting road of the Hex River Bridge, in Zwelethemba.

“Although the incident happened near the bridge, the bridge is intact, and it was the road connecting to the bridge that was partly damaged. Breede Valley Municipality consulted with an engineering company to also look at the bridge and mentioned their findings in the report. The findings stated that the road should be fixed before reopening,” said the spokesperson.

Myburg said a report and inspection was conducted by specialised engineers Le Roux Oosthuizen and Johnnie Strydom, from WSP Group Africa, on the matter.

“It does appear that more openings are required to accommodate the flow of water in the river. Ideally the embankment separating the two bridges should be replaced with another bridge of similar design. The opening between the piers will provide the necessary openings for the river to flow through. The existing pillar and post-type parapets are outdated and do not conform to current standards. The parapets should be replaced with F-shaped parapets,” said the engineers.

Oosthuizen and Strydom recommended to the municipality that an approach slab be installed, the embankment be filled, and the road surface repaired, as well as an upgrade for the embankment protection.

“The existing post-type parapets are outdated and do not conform to current standards. The parapets should be replaced with F-shaped parapets. The bridge structure itself is considered to be in fair condition and no structurally significant defects have been observed,” said the engineers.

Breede Valley Municipality Engineering Services director Jaco Steyn said the most crucial and vulnerable parts of the bridge were in the process of either being repaired or replaced.

“We hope that any further delays do not occur. This follows the theft of sandbags on the retaining wall of the bridge on July 26. All recommendations, as stated in the report, are not required for the reopening of this road. The other recommendations, as per the the report, will be investigated and implemented at a later stage,” said Steyn.

Myburg said all the elements that needed attention to reopen the bridge were currently being fixed, and the reopening will occur (if weather permits) this Friday, on July 30.

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