Tarring of Sand River Bridge underway

The tarring and widening of the Sand River Bridge has started! (By Bev Mortimer)

The tarring of the temporary Sand River Bridge has started (18 November 2011)

Improvements to this bridge mean the hordes of visitors and holiday makers to the coastal town of St Francis Bay and to Cape St Francis village will have a safer bridge to cross. Visitors are expected here from the end of November (the start of school and university holidays).

As these photos show one lane has been sprayed with tar on the improved temporary Sand River bridge and then covered with a fine grit.

According to Nigel Aitken, who heads up the roads and infrastructure portfolio for St Francis Bay Residents’ Association, because of the weather and a great deal of moisture on the ground progress was a bit slower than anticipated on Friday last week.

“The weather did not allow the complete tarring as sunshine is required to dry the tar quickly for vehicles to drive over it,” Aitken says.  “Progress was also affected by a heavy amount of traffic.”

The contractors were working yesterday to complete the other lane, but progress was again hampered by weather and traffic.

“All being well, the roads department will chip and spray early next week to complete the exercise,” Aitken adds.

Aitken has also has called for motorists to be patient while repairs are underway and for them to adhere to the speed limit signs on approaching and crossing the bridge.

The chief engineer for the Provincial Department of Roads, Marius Keyser, told St Francis Chronicle last week that the improvement of the causeway should be completed early in December.

However, even when the bridge is tarred next month it will still be a temporary bridge.

Repairs and improvements to this bridge are designed to make it much safer to cross for motorists following at least seven accidents at the bridge. In two of these accidents the luxurious cars were written off completely when they ploughed into the river and the drivers miraculously escaped serious injury.

One vehicle was worth around R1-million. In the most recent reported accident at this bridge there was a head on collision and one car was completely written off. Fortunately so far there have been no serious causalities.

The Sand River bridge was washed away twice in two weeks in July this year following heavy rains and floods from storm waters. The current bridge is the second temporary bridge built in July this year..

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