The upgraded swing bridge replaces the previous pedestrian walkway connecting the Pierhead Precinct with the Clock Tower Precinct. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

Cape Town - Mayor Dan Plato officially opened the new R20 million swing bridge at V&A Waterfront on Wednesday.

The upgraded swing bridge replaces the previous pedestrian walkway connecting the Pierhead Precinct with the Clock Tower Precinct.

"The V&A Waterfront is one of our tourism hubs, becoming one of the central places where locals and tourists can embark on sightseeing trips, boat cruises, cultural experiences, shopping and entertainment. I am pleased to see that the V&A Waterfront management continue to invest in the space to support its growing appeal and contribute positively to the City’s economic growth and performance," Plato said. 

"The V&A Waterfront is one of the first places that tourists visit and it is also popular among Capetonians, offering a world-class space and scenery."

The V&A Waterfront is one of the most visited destinations in Africa, attracting 24 million visitors every year. Since January, nearly 900 000 people have made use of the previous bridge, which means more than 200 000 visitors make use of the bridge on a monthly basis.

The original swing bridge was designed and constructed in 1997, but an increase in visitor numbers over the years has led to the need for a bridge which is able to accommodate more foot traffic. The new bridge remains 42 metres in length but has doubled in width to 4 meters with a raised beam down the centre to encourage a separation in the direction of foot traffic.

The upgraded swing bridge replaces the previous pedestrian walkway connecting the Pierhead Precinct with the Clock Tower Precinct. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

When required, the bridge can be swung away to allow ships free passage on their journey to the sea.

 Notable features of the new bridge are:

  • It can operate in wind speeds of up to 60 km/ph
  • It can withstand the impact of a passing vessel and swing to free itself to protect the mechanism

"The growth of the V&A Waterfront development and its popularity with visitors continues to inspire the changes to its landscape as well as the visitor experience," said the V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green. 

"From the day the swing bridge opened in December 1997, it has been an irresistible attraction, coping with footfall growth that has doubled with the new developments of the Silo District, as the most direct route to the heart of the Waterfront. 

"The new swing bridge reinvigorates the Clock Tower precinct with a new and iconic gateway structure which purposefully unifies our public spaces for everyone to enjoy, be it on foot or a passing boat," Green said.

Cape Argus