Ramboll has won an international competition to carry out the latest service check on the historic Victoria Falls Bridge at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The riveted steel bridge was built more than a century ago. It has a parabolic arch design and its engineer was George Hobson. It was built in England by Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company, shipped to the Mozambique port of Beira, and then carried by train to Victoria Falls. It took just 14 months to build and was opened in 1905 by Professor George Darwin, son of Charles Darwin. The bridge has a span of 156m across a 120m deep gorge where the Zambesi River marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
photos by Bjørn Nordgaard Lassen
Ramboll said that, even though the Victorian bridge design is exemplary, it needs regular service checks. In the bridge's 100th year, the World Bank appointed Ramboll to conduct a structural analysis. “We examined the bridge in detail and assessed the overall load capacity as satisfactory,” said Bjørn Nordgaard Lassen, chief consultant in Ramboll’s department for bridge and tunnel asset maintenance. “Considering the age of the bridge and the humid climate beneath the great waterfall, the structural state of the bridge remains impressive.”
Ramboll suggested some limited repair work aimed at extending the functional lifetime of the bridge for another 100 years. At the same time, it was recommended that regular check-ups should take place to identify any early signs of potential deterioration.
In an international competition, the owners of the bridge asked for a new check-up in preparation for the necessary repairs. Ramboll has won the new project and will use the calculation model and inspection data from 2005.