The 101-year-old Victoria Falls Bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe over the Chambezi River will be reopened on June 15 after being closed to heavy traffic last year for repair work, an official said here Wednesday.
Minister of Communication and Transport Abel Chambeshi told parliament that the emergency repair works which were being carried out on the bridge have been completed and trucks weighing 56 tons or below are now permitted to travel over it.
Chambeshi said the bridge was closed last year following recommendations by two foreign companies that the structure undergo emergency repair works after they carried out studies in 1992 and 2005 respectively.
The two companies found that the bridge was excessively vibrating every time heavy trucks passed through it.
The 152-meter bridge, put into use in 1905 with life span of 100 years, was reconfigured in 1929 to take vehicles weighing up to 46 tons.
The minister said the reopening of the bridge would decongest two other entry points, Chirundu and Kazungula, where traffic congestion was experienced when the bridge was closed.
He said the emergency repair works were financed by the World Bank and another 1.7 million U.S. dollars would be required for major repair works.
Located just below the Victoria Falls, the bridge was designed by Ralph Freeman, the same engineer who designed the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Constructed from steel, the arch spans 156.50 meters, with a height of 128 meters above the valley floor. The bridge carries cars, trains and foot traffic and plays host to the world-famous, 111-meter Shearwater Bungi Jump.