J&G’s Corrie Meintjes honoured for innovative bridges

20 March 2015

Last night, Corrie Meintjes, senior partner of Jeffares & Green Engineering and Environmental Consulting, was honoured with the prestigious Branch Chairman’s Award for a lifetime’s achievement for innovation in expanding the use of concrete by the KwaZulu-Natal Branch of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa.

This is a lifetime achievement award, so special that this is only the fifth time it has been presented over the last 18 years. The award is made extremely judiciously to ensure that the merit of the award is maintained.

Meintjes has been involved with design and construction of many bridges during his career, but the two most notable bridges recognised by the award are the innovative prestressed concrete ribbon bridges – one over the Mkomaas Valley and the other the pedestrian bridge over the Metolong Dam.
Read more about these groundbreaking bridges…….

Mkomaas Valley footbridge
The Mkomaas Valley in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was the remote setting for the first prestressed concrete ribbon bridge built in Africa.

The single-span bridge boasted a clear span of 150 m, equalling the then world record for this type of footbridge.
Corrie Meintjes had been approached by the KZN Provincial Department of Transport to “think out the box” and produce an innovative design to prevent the swaying motion associated with the cable or suspension-type bridges which the people of the area were averse to using.

After extensive research Meintjes came across the concept of a prestressed pedestrian bridge, used in Czechoslovakia during World War II and rarely applied outside the Balkans.

His proposal of using this concept for the Mkomaas River Footbridge was met with enthusiasm from his client and hence the first prestressed concrete ribbon bridge was designed and built on the African continent.

The Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge
When Corrie was appointed to find a solution for a pedestrian bridge to cross the valley chasm that would be filled with water from the Metolong Dam, he proposed the concept of a prestressed concrete ribbon bridge similar to the Mkomaas Valley footbridge, except that this was a multi-span bridge where the Mkomaas Bridge was a single-span structure.

A visit to the Mkomaas Valley was enough to convince the client.
Meintjes designed the entire structure, with the exception of the rock anchors which were designed by a geotechnical expert.

He was often on site during construction to give direction and expert advice.
Some facts about Corrie

•He graduated from the University of Pretoria as a civil engineer in 1969

•In 1990 he received an M.B.L. degree from UNISA

•He is a member of the Concrete Society of Southern Africa and a Fellow of the South African Institution of Civil Engineers.

•He has served as expert witness on several high-profile enquiries relating to the malfunction/collapse of bridges.

•The following awards were made to him, or to projects he designed and supervised:
1980 SAICE Award of Merit for an elevated reinforced concrete reservoir in Botswana

(I) 1986 SAICE Pietermaritzburg Regional Award and a Commendation from Fulton Awards Committee for the 600-m-long multiple-arch Mhlahlane River Viaduct on the Broodsnyersplaas to Richards          Bay Coal Line.

(II) 1989 SAICE Pietermaritzburg Regional Award for the Manning Avenue incrementally launched bridge in Pietermaritzburg.

(III) March 2007 Concrete Society of Southern Africa’s Concrete Achiever of the Year for the design of the first prestressed concrete ribbon bridge on the African continent

(IV) This bridge also received the Concrete Society of Southern Africa’s (CSSA) 2007 Fulton Award for Design Aspects, the South African Association of Consulting Engineers Award for projects under R5 million and the runner-up of the SAICE Award for Excellence.

(V)  2007 CSSA Fulton Award for Aesthetic Appeal for the Bosmansdam Rd Footbridge in Cape Town.

(VI) 2014 SAICE Pietermaritzburg Regional Award for Technical Excellence and the SAICE National Awards for Best International Projects and for Structural Engineering Excellence for the Metolong Dam       Pedestrian Bridge.

(VII) 2014 CESA Aon Award for Best International Project, also for the Metolong Dam Pedestrian Bridge.

More information from Charmagne Denny, Tel: +27(0)11 231 2200 /

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