River crossings for the early traveller were always time consuming and sometimes even hazardous if they were dependent upon the tides such as the drift across the Zwartkops was. Perhaps that explains the Divisional Council’s decision to place this crossing on its first to-do list after its establishment.
This covers the trials and tribulations of the history of the Zwartkops River crossing from the use of the drift, to the pont and ultimately the various bridges and ultimately their effect on the ecosystem.
Main picture: The Wylde Bridge across the Swartkops River. This bridge replaced the Rawson Bridge
From a pristine lagoon in 1820 to a commercial area in forty years, is how long it took to destroy this once virgin wilderness. Unlike the Settlers, the previous inhabitants of this area, the Khoisan, without any discernible talent at building permanent structures, left no detectable evidence of their presence in the area over eons.
As my blog entitled “Port Elizabeth of Yore: What Happened to the Baakens Lagoon? deals with the why and how the lagoon was reclaimed, instead this blog will focus on the various attempts at bridging this normally placid waterway and the development of commerce and industries within the restricted confines of the valley floor.
Main picture: The bridge across the Baakens in 1866 before the flood showing the lagoon
Generically these are known as Animals Crossings as any fabricated structure, which facilitates the movements of animals across an impeding obstacle such as roads, or railway line could serve as a crossing.
However, as the most spectacular crossings are bridges, the focus will be on bridges.
Main picture: A Green Wildlife Bridge over an Autobahn in Germany