Nelson Mandela Bridge
Infrastructural boost to South Africa
The Nelson Mandela Bridge stands out as a significant construction by virtue of its design, size, location and as part of a larger political plan.
- Johannesburg, Africa
- Road Bridges and Tunnels
- 2001 - 2003
- South African National Roads Agency
- COWI / BKS
- 280 Meters
- Fulton Award, Aesthetic Appeal, The Concrete Society of South Africa, 2006 / South African Institute of Steel Construction, 2003 / Technical Competence Award, South African Institute of Civil Engineering, 2003 / Award of the Century, South African Institute of Civil Engineering, 2003
A Danish-designed railway bridge proudly stretches across the center of Johannesburg. It stands out as a significant construction by virtue of its design, size, location and as part of a larger political plan designed to revitalise Johannesburg's city centre.
The Nelson Mandela Bridge in downtown Johannesburg is part of a major infrastructure project that links and modernises the centre of Johannesburg to benefit the local population, and to create a more welcoming, connected and safe city for foreign visitors. The bridge provides the opportunity to travel between districts on foot and by car and to visit some of the more tourism-friendly parts of Johannesburg in Newtown and Braamfontein.
Constrains and design
The location of the bridge implied a series of challenges, the resolution of which led to the award-winning design of this landmark bridge.
As the deck had to be kept very narrow due to the limited space available for access ramps, the slender proportions led to the design of a cable-stayed bridge. With only two locations structurally suitable for the supports, the pylons had to be asymmetrically placed. As a result, they vary in both height and size, lending an appropriately dynamic character to the bridge.
The location of the bridge also affected the final design, as security was a major consideration. The walkway guardrails have infill panels of toughened glass, making it very visible to deter potential muggers, and the walkways are brightly illuminated by integrated light fittings within the handrails.
The Nelson Mandela Bridge has won several awards, e.g. the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award from the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE).