A crane lifts the V&A Waterfront's new swing bridge off a barge on May 25 2019

The replacement for Cape Town’s busiest footbridge was lifted into place on Saturday after arriving by water.

The new bridge replaces its 22-year-old predecessor, which carried up to 240,000 people a month between the V&A Waterfront’s Pierhead and Clock Tower precincts.

The new bridge — like the old one, able to be swung away to allow vessels through — is twice as wide, at 4m.

“With new development at the Silo District, a larger bridge was required to cater for the increased footfall,” said a V&A statement.

A large crowd gathered on Saturday to watch a shore-based crane lift the 42m bridge off a barge and into position.

An artists' impression of the new swing bridge at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

An artists’ impression of the new swing bridge at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. 
Image: V&A Waterfront

It is due to open to the public on June 18, and in the meantime a free ferry will carry passengers across the water between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

A free My CiTi bus shuttle will operate between the Bascule bridge, near the Cape Grace Hotel, and Silo Square from 6.30pm to 11.30pm.

The V&A Waterfront's old swing bridge was only 2m wide.

The V&A Waterfront’s old swing bridge was only 2m wide. 
Image: V&A Waterfront

“The new bridge, which rotates on one bearing similar to a crane tower, is mechanically advanced and will increase capacity during peak periods,” said the V&A.

“Advanced technology will also ensure the bridge needs less down-time for mechanical maintenance.”

In an attempt to overcome the congestion which delivered the old bridge’s death sentence, it said, “a raised beam running down the centre of the bridge will encourage people to always enter the bridge to their left”.

Between 180,000 and 240,000 people a month used the old bridge, depending on the season and events at the V&A.

The designer of the new bridge is SMEC South Africa and the contractor is Stefanutti Stocks Coastal.