Bridge Structures

SMEC South Africa’s expertise in bridge structures has developed through involvement in multi-disciplinary design and construct contracts for rail and road; alternative design schemes for contractors; temporary works design; and as specialist check engineers and advisors.

Team-work with contractors, architects, planners, as well as internally, is a key part of the process of delivering a successful bridge project. The driving goal of our team is to provide a superior technical service at a practical level.

Many of our staff have worked internationally, giving them experience in applying not only South African but also the European, American, British and other codes of practice.

Our services
  • Our design capabilities extend across a broad spectrum of construction materials including reinforced concrete, pre stressed concrete, steel, composite steel and timber.
  • The use of specialist bridge analysis software (RM and LUSAS).
  • Detailing complex geometries.
  • Using technical expertise to detail economical components that are easy to build and maintain.
SMEC South Africa is proud to have maintained a critical mass of specialist bridge engineering skills. The bridge team has over 60 staff in offices throughout South Africa. This depth of resources has allowed us to take on some of the larger bridge projects within South Africa, Africa and beyond.”
– John Anderson, Function General Manager, Bridge Structures

Isando Pedestrian Bridge

Dubbed The Walking Wonder Isando Pedestrian Bridge stands as a visible marker to the current efforts to upgrade the freeways in and around Johannesburg.

With a total length of 446 m, the bridge and its approaches connect the Isando Rail Station with the OR Tambo International Airport, replacing two substandard bridges.

The main structure (crossing the highway) is a 126 m long cable stayed bridge with a 4-span configuration. The superstructure consists of a continuous composite steel box girder with a 5.4 m wide concrete deck slab. The 64 m long main span is supported by two vertical planes of fanned cables that are anchored into the back spans.

A main feature of the bridge is its two un-braced cigar shaped steel pylons. The versatility of the structural steel used during construction made the final form of the structure possible.

The bridge includes a 4.5 m wide walkway, providing an improved level of service to peak hour commuters, serving over 9,000 pedestrians daily. Learn more


V&A Waterfront’s Swing Bridge

SMEC was engaged by V&A Waterfront Holdings (Pty) Ltd as the lead design firm and structural engineers, working in conjunction with COA Architects and Eadon Consulting, for the replacement of a 22-year-old swing footbridge at the historic V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.

The new bridge was officially unveiled at an opening ceremony on 11 July 2019.

The new deck is significantly wider, measuring 4.5m, compared to the original's 2.5m. The lower part of the deck is a steel girder framework bolted to a 0.5m-wide central steel spine beam. The latter protrudes 470mm above most of the length of the upper part of the deck, which is made of timber. The spine beam and 14.5m-tall mast angled at 20° from the vertical are both fabricated steelwork and are bolted together at the pivot point.

Given the heavy footfall at the Waterfront, the entire project was scheduled to ensure that works were undertaken during the quieter months of the South African autumn and winter.

Mt Edgecombe Interchange Upgrade

Currently considered to be the largest interchange project in South Africa, the Mount Edgecombe Interchange Upgrade involved shifting an existing diamond interchange layout to a free flow, four level interchange configuration.

The upgrade includes nine new bridge structures, of which the main feature is two free flow ramp viaducts that are 443 m and 947 m long and 18m and 26m high, respectively. The viaduct span lengths vary with the longest spanning up to 65m.

The viaducts were constructed using the Incremental Launch Method to accommodate traffic and elevation constraints. Learn more