Victoria Falls Bridge

The Victoria Falls Bridge arch bridge became famous for its proximity to the falls. The highest railway bridge in the world upon its opening in 1905. The parabolic arch spans 513 feet (156.5 metres) and rises 420 feet (128 metres) above the Zambezi River. Designed by G. A. Hobson and constructed by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, it was completed in 14 months. The bridge crosses between Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Livingstone, Zambia.

Photo 1, Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/Zambia

Victoria Falls Bridge

Location                                          Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Zambia border

Crosses                                            Zambezi River

Function / usage                              Railroad (railway) bridge Road bridge 

Designer                                          George Andrew Hobson

Design                                             Arch bridge

Total length                                     198 metres (650 feet)

Height above valley floor or water     128 metres (420 feet)

Arch span                                        156.5 metres (513 feet)

Design/Construction                        Douglas Fox and Partners/Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company

Built                                                1904 – 1905

Photo 2, Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/Zambia

The Victoria Falls Bridge was commissioned by Cecil John Rhodes in 1900, and was completed by 1905, although Rhodes never lived to see it and died before construction of the bridge began. It was designed by George Anthony Hobson of consultants Sir Douglas Fox and Partners. The bridge, constructed by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, took just 14 months to build and was completed in 1905. 

Victoria Falls Bridge measures 198 metres (650 feet) in total length and stands 128 metres (420 feet) above the river. It carries a road, railway and footway.

The bridge was made, and assembled in sections to ensure accuracy, at the steel works in Darlington, England, and shipped in knocked down pieces to Beira on the S.S. Cromwell and then put on the Beira and Mashonaland Railway to Bulawayo, and on to the Victoria Falls on the new rail-line. With the view to hastening the arrival of the steelwork and its erection, the Railway company itself arranged for the transport of the materials.

Work having started in May, the concrete foundations for the bridge were finally ready in October 1904. At the same time the anchorages for sustaining the main span during its cantilever stage were prepared, and the building of the main bridge structure commenced on 21 October. The two side spans of the bridge, supported on the abutments and anchored to the rock behind by steel cables, were completed in late December 1904.

The official opening ceremony for the Victoria Falls Bridge took place on 12 September, 1905.

Photo 3, Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/Zambia

In 1929 urgently required alterations were carried out to the bridge. It had originally been designed to take two tracks of rails. One of the two rail tracks was removed and the bridge was widened to include a roadway and sidewalks. The contract for the works was drawn up in December 1928, the work again being awarded to the Cleveland Bridge Company.

Photo 4, Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe/Zambia

Bungee jumping is available every day of the year and drops guests 111 metres (360 feet ) down into the gorge, which started operations in 1993.

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