The Pacaltsdorp footbridge is a new and valuable link crossing the N2 national highway for the commuters from the new Pacaltsdorp township accessing work opportunities in George and the surrounding industrial areas. For SMEC South Africa, the challenge set by SANRAL was to create a design that complemented both the surrounding built and natural environments. Of course, it also had to attract pedestrians towards it and away from the highway.
First, concepts with simply supported precast concrete beams and cast-in-situ continuous concrete decks were considered. However, after some review, the idea of giving the bridge some individual character gained support. More natural forms were investigated and the concept of a multispan arch structure supporting a stress ribbon deck was chosen. The shallow arches flow across the highway and the stress ribbon across the arch.