The completion of Durban’s iconic arch above the Moses Mabhida Stadium is an “engineering miracle” which has given South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ organisers great confidence.

This was the view of an ecstatic Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Organising Committee South Africa, Dr Danny Jordaan, after news this week that the show-stopping arch above the 70 000-seater 2010 semi final stadium had been successfully assembled.

The highest point of the arch is 106 metres above the middle of the pitch and consists of 56 separate ten metre pieces weighing 3 500 tons. The last piece of the arch, fitted this week, completed a mammoth construction puzzle and weighed 60 tons.

In March last year the first sections of the arch arrived by ship from Hamburg, Germany and less than a year later the intricate design element is complete. It is already attracting plenty of local and international attention and is set to change Durban’s skyline forever, giving the city a tourist landmark akin to New York’s Statue of Liberty and Sydney’s Opera House.

“This amazing feat again shows that without doubt our 2010 stadiums will rank among the best in the world when they’re completed. In particular I would like to congratulate Durban mayor Obed Mlaba, city manager Mike Sutcliffe, project co-ordinator Julie-May Ellingson and the entire stadium team. We’re delighted with the completion of the arch of the stadium. It’s an engineering miracle, which went off without a hitch. This historic moment signals two important things, the capacity of South Africa’s construction industry and the commitment of South Africa’s 2010 host cities,” said Jordaan.

A high-tech cable car has been designed to take visitors to the highest point of the arch where they can take in panoramic views of the city and Indian Ocean, while the top of the arch can also be accessed by scaling hundreds of steps.

Durban’s Strategic Projects Unit Director, Julie-May Ellingson, said: “This is an event which we have eagerly 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 are well on track.”

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

But while its breathtaking to look at, functionally the arch will also provide critical support for the stadium roof, which will consist of Teflon coated glass fibre membranes.

In total the roof will have a surface area of 46 000 square metres and will be suspended from the arch by 95 mm diameter steel cables and secured around the perimeter of the stadium by an 880 meter steel compression ring.

Jordaan was delighted with the progress being made at the country’s “big three” stadiums, Johannesburg’s Soccer City, which will host the 2010 opening match and final, Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium and Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, the tournament’s semi-final venues.

However, he was equally proud of the hard work and dedication shown by the tens of thousands of construction workers at all ten 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums.

“All of the stadium teams have shown their commitment to deliver on time. It gives us huge comfort and confidence that we will meet our FIFA deadlines. There is no doubt that by the time the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final Draw takes place in Cape Town on December 4 2009, the 32 teams will be able to visit the completed stadiums they will be playing at in June 2010,” said Jordaan.

DATED: 15th January 2009