Lourens River Bridge restored

A stone mason carefully removes concrete slurry which was previously used in a repair of the historic Lourens River Bridge, in Somerset West.

The City of Cape Town is spending R1.7 million on the restoration of the historic Lourens River Bridge in Somerset West.

The bridge, opened in 1845, is located near the corner of Main and Gordon Roads.

“The bridge was commissioned by the then Central Road Board (CRB) who appointed architect WS Chauncey to supervise the construction of bridges over the Palmiet, Bot and Lourens rivers in 1844.

The Lourens River Bridge consisted of two arch spans built of sandstone quarried from Table Mountain. It was opened to the public on June 20 1845, providing a single vehicular crossing for those travelling from Cape Town, over the Cape Flats and on to the Eerste River and back,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron.

Initial preparations for the conservation project commenced in October 2015 when the SAIHSC conducted on-site surveys and sample collections to identify the causes of deterioration.

“The surveys identified and distinguished between the original building material and other materials that were used during previous restoration projects,” said Mr Herron.

Then followed the process to identify or formulate materials compatible with the physical attributes of the surviving heritage material, and that match the weathered and partially degraded sandstone and other materials.

Previously undertaken concrete repairs were removed, in particular the concrete slurry.

The structure was cleaned of algae, soot, graffiti, stains and dirt, and all chipped and broken masonry components were repaired with matching materials.

“If all goes as planned, the restoration of the Lourens River Bridge will be completed by the end of January,” said Mr Herron.