Gauteng Tourist AttractionsThe Nelson Mandela Bridge
The largest cable-stayed bridge in South Africa, the 284 metre long Nelson Mandela Bridge, starts virtually at the end of Jan Smuts Avenue and links Constitutional Hill precinct in Braamfontein to the Cultural precinct in Newtown, in the heart of the city’s inner city renewal project.
Where? Take Jan Smuts Avenue in the direction of the Johannesburg CBD. Drive straight through Braamfontein and then keep right at the fork, to drive over Nelson Mandela Bridge
When? The bridge is open all hours
How much? Free
The Nelson Mandela Bridge, officially opened by Nelson Mandela himself, cost R38-million and took two years of construction to cross over the 40 railway lines that lie spread beneath its span.
The bridge carries two lanes of traffic; there are two sidewalks for pedestrians and a bicycle lane and it’s a ride worth taking for the incredible array of artworks decorating buildings past which the bridge runs (the city has some 65 artworks in total decorating its buildings).
Visually the bridge is incredibly appealing in its simplicity. Four tubular steel, concrete filled pylons are a central feature and key to the engineering of the bridge. The bridge is also supported on the largest pot bearings ever installed in the country, designed to cope with any stresses to the bridge - no surprise that Johannesburgs Nelson Mandela Bridge was judged ‘the most outstanding civil engineering project achievement in the technical excellence category’ in 2003 by the SA Institute of Civil Engineers.
At night the bridge is a magical beacon that lights the sky, its imposing span dominating the horizon in amongst the city skyscrapers and viewed from the M1 highway by countless South Africans and visitors alike.