Back in the early 1800s the first river crossing across the Sundays River going east from Algoa Bay was a drift situated near Addo. As traffic increased there was an urgent need for a more direct route as the route via Addo was a bit of a detour to Grahamstown and the Albany District
By the mid-1800s the Colchester area was a very busy spot as it had the only punt over the Sundays River on this main route between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. In 1874 the original punt washed away and they started looking at plans to build a bridge.
The Mackay Bridge was opened on 5 March 1895 and constructed entirely of steel and iron brought from Sheffield in England. It was named in honour of John Mackay whose efforts resulted in its construction. The original bridge was destroyed in a flood in 1932 and the construction of a replacement Mackay Bridge, costing £25 000, was expedited. The bridge as it stands today was officially opened on the 5th July 1938.
This bridge acted as the main road across the Sundays River until the construction of the N2 bridge. The Mackay Bridge has formally been closed to traffic and is only accessible on foot or by bicycle. It has become a very popular spot to watch and photograph sunset.