Pretoria - There has been significant progress in the construction of the 140m Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge over the Mbashe River in the Eastern Cape, says the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
The Mvezo bridge project also involves the building of a new 10km tar road that will link Mvezo with the N2, reducing the distance to East London, Mthatha and Idutywa by at least 50km.
Currently, when Mvezo residents travel to Idutywa they have to go via Qunu Village. This is an 86km journey, which will be significantly shortened once the bridge is completed.
It is also envisaged that Mvezo will be developed as a tourist attraction and the project will fast track economic development.
The Mvezo and Dondolo villages are expected to reap the rewards of the R123 million infrastructure project, which will result in jobs for a number of residents.
The department is working with other departments such as Public Works, Transport and Water Affairs on this project.
Environmental impact assessments were conducted in the area with ecological specialists looking at important animal and vegetative species, to ensure that those in danger of extinction are not removed.
Aquatic specialists have observed the quality of the water in Mbhashe River, while heritage experts assessed the potential impact on heritage value and attributes of cultural or historical significance in close proximity to the study area.