Victoria Falls Bridge
The Victoria Falls Bridge crosses the Zambezi River just below the Victoria Falls and is built over the Second Gorge of the falls. As the river is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the bridge links the two countries and has border posts on the approaches to both ends, at the towns of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Livingstone, Zambia.

The bridge was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, who wanted the "spray of the falls over the train carriages", even though he never visited the falls and died before construction of the bridge began. It was designed by George Anthony Hobson of consultants Sir Douglas Fox and Partners, not as is often stated, Sir Ralph Freeman, the same engineer who contributed to the design of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge, constructed by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, took just 14 months to build and was completed in 1905. At the time of the design of the Victoria Falls Bridge, Freeman was an assistant in the firm who, in those pre-computer days, was calculating stresses. The bridge was officially opened by Professor George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin. The American Society of Civil Engineers lists the bridge as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Constructed from steel, the bridge is 198 metres (650 ft) long, with a main arch spanning 156.50 metres (513.5 ft) , at a height of 128 metres (420 ft) above the lower water mark of the river in the gorge below. It carries a road, railway and footway. The bridge is the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe and one of only three road links between the two countries. The Victoria Falls Bridge did not bring the first train or the first railway to Zambia. In order to push on with construction of the railway north as fast as possible, Cecil Rhodes insisted that the Livingstone to Kalomo line be laid before the bridge was finished. Then a locomotive was conveyed in pieces across the gorge by the temporary cableway used for construction of the bridge. The locomotive was re-assembled and entered service months before the bridge was complete. The bridge was officially opened by Professor George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin and President of the British Association (now the Royal Society) on 12 September, 1905. For more than 50 years the bridge was crossed regularly by passenger trains as part of the principal route between the then Northern Rhodesia, southern Africa and Europe. Freight trains carried mainly copper ore (later, copper ingots) and timber out of Zambia, and coal into the country. The age of the bridge and maintenance problems have led to traffic restrictions at times. Trains cross at less than walking pace and trucks were limited to 30 t, necessitating heavier trucks to make a long diversion via the Kazungula Ferry or Chirundu Bridge. The limit was raised after repairs in 2006, but more fundamental rehabilitation or construction of a new bridge has been aired. During the Rhodesian UDI crisis and Bush War the bridge was frequently closed (and regular passenger services have not resumed successfully). In 1975, the bridge was the site of unsuccessful peace talks when the parties met in a train carriage poised above the gorge for nine and a half hours. In 1980 freight and road services resumed and have continued without interruption except for maintenance. Today the Victoria Falls Bridge is the location for a 111 metres (364 ft) bungee jump in which connection it is often erroneously referred to as the 'Livingstone Bridge'.

The Location of the bridge and surrounding area by Openstreetmap

Building Activity

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