Construction workers yesterday fitted the arch that joins the grandstand sections of Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.

This put the new sporting facility well on schedule to host soccer matches for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The engineers and their workforce fitted the final segment to the 350m-long arch that spans eThekwini’s iconic stadium despite bad weather conditions.

The fitting of the arch concluded one of the spectacular aspects of the multibillion rand stadium construction.

In March last year the first sections of the free-span arch arrived by ship from Hamburg, Germany. An engineering feat of epic proportions, the arch will give Durban a landmark to rival Sydney’s Opera House, New York’s Statue of Liberty and the statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.

Julie-May Ellingson, head of Durban’s strategic projects unit, said: “This is an event that we’ve looked forward to for many months. The completion of the arch is a major milestone in the city’s preparations for 2010 and exciting proof that we’re well on track.”

The arch, which consists of 56 separate 10m sections, stands 106m high, weighs 3500 tons and bears a symbolic resemblance to the national flag. The two supports on the southern side of the stadium join at the northern side, symbolising the unity of a once divided nation through sport.

The construction of the stadium has captured the imagination of Durbanites, many of whom have made regular stops at the visitors’ centre to photograph the progress of the building – and particularly the erection of the arch.

AUTHOR: Canaan Mdletshe
DATED: 14th January 2009