On the way back from spending a day in the Gamtoos Valley, I decided to take a drive through the Van Stadens Pass and stop at the bottom to snap a couple of pics (and log the geocache hidden there). Doing some rock hopping I got to a point from where I could see both the new and old bridges as well as the original drift through the river.
The river and original pass was named after one of the area's pioneer farmers - Marthinus van Staden, who was the first person to plot a basic route through the Van Stadens River Gorge in the 1850's. In 1867 Thomas Bain was brought in by the Cape Government to rebuild the pass so that ox wagon traffic could safely travel through the pass. In 1868, barely a year later, a massive flood washed away major sections of the pass and bridge, which resulted in a complete rebuild. Over the eighty years the pass saw regular improvements and widening and it was finally tarred between 1950 and 1953. In 1971 the N2 bridge over the gorge was opened. It took 4 years to complete (1967 - 1971) and is the 1st of 5 large concrete bridges along the N2. The bridge is an arch bridge design with a height of 140 m and a span of 198.1 m.
The concrete remains of the original drift over the river can still be seen amongst the rocks and boulders.