Msikaba and Mtentu Bridges

Bridges of extraordinary complexity in South Africa

Dissing+Weitling, Msikaba bridge, overview

The Mtentu Bridge and the Msikaba Bridge are both of extraordinary engineering and architecture complexity and construction magnitude but have a sleek and minimal in expression.

  • Eastern Cape Province
    Road Bridges and Tunnels
    2007 - In Progress
  • Client
    The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL)
    Halcrow (CH2M)
    580 m / 1,130 m
  • Through client conversations and aerial tours of the site, Dissing+Weitling has developed an understanding of the remoteness of the geography – as well as its beauty.

    Architectural decision making was therefore driven not only by the structural and technical requirements for the large bridges, but also an understanding of the remote landscape – as well as the populations served.

    The design intentions contain holistically sustainable solutions: visually impactful yet minimalist crossings that ensure public safety, reduce transit time, and both respect and connect to the natural landscape.

    Spatial connection to the Wild Coast

    In providing each bridge with its own visual identity, both crossings provide users with a direct spatial connection to the Wild Coast – and allow those on the road the brief opportunity of finding themselves within the vastness of the gorge before carrying forward.

    Connecting communities

    The bridges will play a vital role in improving travel time, connecting previously divided communities in the region - the infrastructure projects respond directly to the connectivity needs of the rural community, with designs supporting a minimalist intervention and complements the magnitude of remote landscapes.

    The route will be approximately 85 kilometres shorter than the current route.

  • Msikaba Frans Kromhout
    Photo: Frans Kromhout
  • The size and complexity of the two bridges are beyond anything built previously in Southern Africa.

    The Mtentu River Bridge is a concrete structure approximately 1,130-meter long comprising a 260-meter main span constructed as a balanced cantilever with main piers approximately 160-meter high, plus approach viaducts constructed using incremental launching methods.

    The Msikaba Bridge is a 580-meter long cable-stayed road bridge spanning across a spectacular steep green gorge created by the beautiful Msikaba River.

    The project, which is commissioned by SANRAL – The South African National Roads Agency – has been on hold for almost a decade, but now the funding is in place, and the project up and running again. Dissing+Weitling’s involvement in the project as mobility architects is limited to the concept and detailed design.

    Project completion is expected for 2027.

    Dissing+Weitling is also behind the award-winning Nelson Mandela Bridge, a railway bridge in central Johannesburg.

  • Dissing+Weitling, Mtentu Bridge, overview
    Mtentu Bridge