Archiver > SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE > 2005-10 > 1129497489

From: "Becky Horne" <>
Subject: Henry Putt Bridge, Port Alfred - Part I
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 23:18:09 +0200

The Henry PUTT Bridge, Port Alfred.
by Mr. M. D. HALL

The laying of the foundation stone of the Henry Putt Bridge by Sir
Walter F. Hely HUTCHINSON on 1 September 1906 represented a great
advance for reinforced concrete in southern Africa as this was the first
reinforced concrete bridge built in this country.

In his speech at the opening of the bridge on 15 September 1908, the
Hon. Mr. D. P. DE VILLIERS GRAAFF said: "The bridge has been constructed
by the use of reinforced concrete and is the first of its kind in the
Cape Colony. It may be said to be on trial, but every confidence is
placed in its reliability." Mr. DE VILLIERS GRAAFF went on to say that
he believed the system of reinforced concrete had a great future before

After the change in the configuration of the river brought about by the
harbour works which commenced in 1840, there were no drifts across the
Kowie River in the vicinity of Port Alfred. For 32 years before the
opening of the bridge the two halves of the town were linked by a pont
which plied the river just below the site of the bridge.

It seems that the construction of a bridge had been contemplated for
eight or nine years before the foundation stone was actually laid. One
assumes that Mr. Henry PUTT, after whom the bridge was named and who was
manager of the Kowie Railway for more than 26 years and Mayor for 21
years, must have played a major part in its planning.

The bridge itself carries a single carriageway on four beams 900 mm deep
over nine spans of approximately 9 m without any expansion joints. The
piers are slim and rather elaborate concrete lattice work while the
handrail was an ornate system of
panels with wheels and St. Andrews crosses between the uprights. During
the 1940's the panels were filled in and plastered over so that no trace
of the original work remains.

SOURCE: Looking Back, December 1982
More to follow.

Best wishes

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