Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Letty's bridge (1873)


In 1869 road engineer Thomas Bain turned his attention to the Tradouw Pass.

Bain was welcomed warmly by the Barry family of Swellendam who invited his family to move into a beautiful old house on the farm Lismore (situated 3km from Suurbraak) and the Barrys and the Bains became great friends.

Soon the construction of the pass began. Bain knew that river courses, like roads, preferred the path of least resistance. He therefore decided that the pass should follow the same winding course that the Tradouw River had carved through the landscape.

One of the first things you come across as you ride towards the Tradouw Pass from the Suurbraak side is the Andries Uys Bridge.

Bain built a six-metre-span bridge over the Gats river as part of the original construction and this was called Letty's bridge after on of the Barrys. Unfortunately it was washed away in 1875, two years after the opening of the pass. Bain then replaced it with a higher twelve-meter-span Teak bridge which was in use until 1979 when it was replaced by the modern Andries Uys Bridge.

This is what the old bridge looks like today:


No comments: