The Van Stadens River is located about 35km west of Port Elizabeth and was named after one of the area’s early pioneer farmers, Marthinus van Staden, who was the first person to plot a rough track through the gorge. The very first pass through the gorge was built in 1852. By 1865 a drift was built over the river. In December 1939 the concrete bridge across the Van Stadens River at the bottom of the current pass was completed and put into use.
During the 1960s, a plan was unveiled which proposed to build bridges over the most notorious passes in the Southern Cape. These included the Storm’s River, Blaauwkrantz as well as Van Stadens. The present N2 bridge over the gorge was completed on 12 October 1971, has a main span of 198m and is 125 metres above the gorge. The two halves of the arch were constructed simultaneously from both sides.
It takes you less than 30 seconds to pass over the bridge, but the 15 minutes detour through the pass with a photo stop is well worth the extra time.