Wierda Bridge (Sesmylspruitbrug/Bridge), Old Johannesburg Road (R101), Pretoria
The Sesmylspruit Bridge has cultural significance because it is an artefact that aids in “understanding of the past or enrich[ing] the present” (Burra Charter, 1988).
The Sesmylspruit Bridge has historic value because of the influence of Sytze Wierda, a historic figure in South Africa. Wierda was appointrd as the first engineer and architect
of the South African Republic (Z.A.R.) in 1887. In 1895 Wierda became Chief of Public Works. He was responsible for the design of important buildings and bridges in South Africa,
including the Palace of Justice on Church Square, Pretoria, and Leeubrug over the Apies River, also in Pretoria.
The Sesmylspruit Bridge also has technical value. It was one of the first wrought-iron bridges to be built in South Africa. Because its footings are located below the low water line, great care was taken in the technical design thereof. Thus the skill and labour needed to construct this bridge was extensive.
Current known heritage status
The Wierda Bridge is a Grade II Provincial Heritage Resource.
Possible interested and affected parties
- City of Tshwane
- Verwoerdburg Verkenners
- Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria
- Pretoria Institute for Architecture
- Tshwane Buidling Heritage Association
1839-02-28 - Sytze Wierda was born
1887 - Wierda became the first engineer and architect in South Africa
1891-10-22 - Sesmylspruit Bridge was inaugurated
1895 - Wierda became Chief of Public Works
2011-10-22 - New identification plate unveiled
2012 - Still in use
Description of site and/or structures and/or interior spaces
The Wierda Birdge is a steel girder birdge on stone abutment piers resting on concrete footings. Historical documents indicate that the concrete footings are six feet high. After these had cured, the abutment-piers were added. The wrought-iron bridge (steel girder bridge) was built according to a hinge system. All the main parts of the bridge were connected at knot points through the use of heavy hinge-and nut-bolts. These hinge bolts help in the spreading of tension down the load-bearing parts.
The bridge is still used daily, despite being rusty and quite run down.
Wierda, Sytze. 2012. Internet: http://0-www.artefacts.co.za.innopac.up.ac.za/main/Buildings/bldgframes.php?bldgid=9524&source=0. Accessed: 6 May 2012.
Wierdabrug. 2011. Internet: http://www.hnp.org.za/afrikaner. Accessed: 25 March 2012.
Wierda, S. 2012. Internet: http://www.sahra.org.za/architects_. Accessed: 17 May 2012.
(List printed references and oral sources)