By Tsitsi Matope
Ha-Masakala – The construction of the first ever cable-bridge in the Southern Africa region is underway along the Phuthiatsana River in Ha Masakala village, outside Thaba Bosiu.
A South African-based engineering company, EXR is constructing the slightly more than 248metres in length bridge, as part of the Metolong Dam Project. Upon completion, the bridge would be used for pedestrian and livestock crossing. Mr Sipho Bethwana, the foreman who yesterday could be seen supervising the pulling-in of the precast slabs, which would form the walk-way, said the height of the bridge is 37metres from its central part and its base (walk-way) would be 2 570 millimetres while the thickness of the deck is going to be 450millimetres.
“This super cable bridge will be used for pedestrian and livestock crossing. It is also going to make monitoring processes on both sides of the river, which is part of the Metolong dam easy,” Bethwana said. He said the construction, which started last year, will be complete before end of this year.
Local communities welcomed the construction of the bridge saying it would go a long way to reduce the crossing hustles faced by pupils learning at schools across the river.
Mamofeli Libaba, from Ha Seeiso village, which is next to Ha Masakala, said the developments in the area have also enabled some young people to be employed.
“We know the new dam is also going to make it possible for us to have, for the first time, portable water. For years, since I started staying in this village in 1995, we have been drinking from a nearby well and doing our laundry in this dirty stream that feeds into Phuthiatsana. We are looking forward to better days,” Libaba who was doing her laundry yesterday said.