The project is part of an initiative by the Mpumalanga Department of Roads to improve all weather access to rural and peri-urban areas. Access in Gutswa is usually severely curtailed during rainy seasons when the Clau-Clau river is recharged. The bridge would thus guarantee access to communities on either side of the valley.
The road would also provide access to the social, economic and health services situated between the villages of Clau-Clau and Gutshwaskop. The project comprised of 4.8km of road and 18m single span bridge.
The alignment of the upgraded road had to negotiate an informal area consisting of corn fields, residential houses, a cemetery and public buildings. Following the existing alignment as far as possible, the design speed was restricted to 60km per hour due to the settlement density.
The single span bridge was founded on spread footings. However, suitable foundation bedding was only found at a depth of 10m below natural ground. The high erodibility of the natural material called for extensive protection of the foundations against scour by using gabions across the full width of the water course.