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Historic wooden bridge to be restored

Published Aug 8, 2008

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The century-old wooden bridge over Milnerton Lagoon, which has seen better days, is set to be restored.

The bridge, an historic landmark in Cape Town built at the turn of the last century, was in 2007 ruled to be too dangerous for public use after its condition had deteriorated considerably.

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As a provincial monument, the bridge, which gives access to Woodbridge Island, is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act which states that the care and maintenance of heritage resources is that of the owners. In this case that means the city.

But the fact that another more modern bridge, very close to the wooden bridge, is being used instead has made it difficult to secure funding for restoration and maintenance, the city's Environmental Resource Department has said.

Cecilia de Bruyn, of the Heritage Resources branch, said the city had applied for Lotto funding for the repairs, but when the this would happen had yet to be confirmed.

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They hoped to complete the restoration by 2009.

De Bruyn said that heritage consultant Andre Pentz recently completed a conservation management plan for the bridge, outlining its historic significance.

He also made proposals for its future use and maintenance.

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Unconfirmed reports say the bridge was constructed in 1901 by the Fortress Company of Royal Engineers to provide military access to Woodbridge Island.

The bridge is constructed of Australian Jarra wood, which is strong and durable, but very difficult to obtain, particularly in the lengths and sizes needed for this restoration.

The bridge served as the sole access point to the island until a new one was built in 1984, and is believed to be the only remaining one of its kind in South Africa.

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The construction management plan is available for perusal at the library in Pienaar Street, Milnerton; for more information call De Bruyn on 021 550 7564.

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