Visitors to the V&A Waterfront are in for a treat; the brand new R20-million swing bridge is ready for action and finally open for public use.

With the V&A being one of the most visited destinations in Africa, attracting roughly 24-million visitors annually, this wider, more modern walking bridge is just want the shopping hotspot needs.

Since January, nearly 900 000 people have made use of the original swing bridge, which means more than 200 000 visitors make use of the new bridge on a monthly basis.

The original bridge was designed and constructed in 1997, but an increase in visitor numbers over the years has led to the need for a bridge able to accommodate more foot traffic.

The new bridge is the same 42 meters in length but with new raised beams down the centre to encourage separation of foot traffic, and is double the width of the old bridge to accommodate more people with each crossing.

When required, the bridge can be swung away to allow ships free passage through the canal just as the old bridge did.

“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.  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,” said Executive Mayor of Cape Town Dan Plato.

Mayor Dan Plato at the opening of the new bridge. 

Notable new features of the bridge include that it can operate in wind speeds of up to 60km per hour and withstand the impact of a passing vessel, with swing mechanism to protect itself in the instance of a collision.

“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. 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,” said V&A Waterfront CEO David Green.
Pictures: Supplied

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