Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Then and Now - Van Stadens Pass drift

Approaching Port Elizabeth from the west you have to drive over the Van Stadens River Bridge about 40 kilometres outside of town.  Looking down into the gorge you can just imagine what an effort it must have been getting through that back in the earlier days.  The river 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 gorge in the 1850's.  In 1867 Thomas Bain rebuild the pass so that ox wagon traffic could safely travel through.  Over the next hundred 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,the 1st of 5 large concrete bridges along the N2, was opened.  The bridge is an arch bridge design with a height of 140 meters and a span of 198.1 meters.  
The drift at the bottom of the Van Stadens Pass as it looked in 1904 with a ox-wagon crossing the river
The site of the drift as it looks today
 Follow this link for a post with a picture of the drift, old bridge and new bridge

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