Fairfield Bridge

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Fairfield Bridge
Fairfield Bridge3 cropped.jpg
Coordinates 37°46′19″S 175°16′12″E / 37.772°S 175.270°E / -37.772; 175.270Coordinates: 37°46′19″S 175°16′12″E / 37.772°S 175.270°E / -37.772; 175.270
Carries Motor vehicles, pedestrians
Crosses Waikato River
Locale Fairfield, Hamilton
Preceded by Whitiora Bridge
Followed by Pukete Bridge
Design Tied-arch
Material Concrete
Total length 139 metres (457 ft)
No. of spans 3
Piers in water 2
Designer Stanley Jones
Constructed by Roose Shipping
Construction start 6 August 1934 (1934-08-06)
Opened 26 April 1937 (1937-04-26)
Daily traffic

20,000 (2002)

19,300 (2012)

18,900 (2015)[1]

Fairfield Bridge is a tied-arch bridge on the Waikato River in Fairfield, Hamilton, New Zealand. It is one of six bridges in the city.[2] It spans from River Road, on the east bank of the river, to Victoria Street, on the west side.[3]

It was registered as a Category I 'Historic Place' with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust on 30 August 1990.[4] The Great Race starts just north of the bridge, with the rowers passing under it during the race.[5]

There were days when drovers would drive stock over the main Fairfield Bridge to Frankton saleyeards.[6]

Design and construction[edit]

The bridge is 139 metres (457 ft) long, and has two land spans,[7] and three arches which are 70 centimetres (28 in) wide, 40 metres (130 ft) long and 7.9 metres (26 ft) above the road at their highest point.[8][9] The road is 20 ft (6.1 m) wide, and the footpaths 5 ft (1.5 m).[10] The arches and spans are made from reinforced concrete.[7] It was designed by Stanley Jones of Auckland, and Roose Shipping started construction in August 1934.[7] The bridge was opened in April 1937 by the Minister of Public Works Bob Semple.[7] It was the fourth large reinforced concrete tied-arch bridge in New Zealand, and the second over the Waikato River.[9]

When the building of a bridge in the Fairfield suburb was proposed, many people felt that it would seldom be used.[7] At that time it was just north of the city boundary, in Waikato County.[10] Sixty-five years later, in 2002, there were about 20,000 vehicles travelling across the bridge each day.[11]

During the building of foundations for the bridges, an excavator came across a burial cave in the bank of the river. The preserved heads of several Māori were found in it.[12] In 1991 a reconstruction project costing NZ$1.1 million took place, as the bridge was suffering the effects of concrete cancer,[7] discovered in 1980.[13]

During January 2011, the bridge was closed for three weeks for maintenance.[14]

Motorcycle stunt[edit]

Fairfield Bridge at night

In 2009 Jonathan Bennett of the Mormon Few Stunt Crew was charged, and in 2010 was convicted,[15] for dangerous driving for riding a motorcycle on the arches of Fairfield Bridge.[16][17] The stunt was filmed and subsequently posted on YouTube.[18]


  1. ^ Hamilton City Council Traffic Counting Data
  2. ^ "Hamilton's bridges". Hamilton City Council. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Fairfield Bridge, Waikato". Google Maps. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "Fairfield Bridge". New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Anderson, Ian (28 September 2009). "Waikato hold out Oxford". Waikato Times. Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Neville Grinter (December 1976). Hamilton and the Waikato. A. H. & A. W. Reed. ISBN 9780589009717. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Fairfield Bridge". Hamilton City Libraries. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Neems, Jeff (5 September 2009). "Daredevil stunt rider takes the high road". Waikato Times. Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Henshall, F. P. (10 April 1948). "The Fairfield Bridge, Hamilton". New Zealand Engineering. 3 (4): 387–389. ISSN 0028-808X. 
  10. ^ a b "Parliamentary Papers | Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives | 1937 Session I PUBLIC WORKS STATEMENT (BY THE HON. R. SEMPLE, MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 2017-06-16. 
  11. ^ "Water levels may affect Hamilton bridge". The New Zealand Herald. 13 November 2002. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Wintec – A History of the Land on Which Our City Campus Sits" (PDF). Waikato Institute of Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Swarbrick, Nancy (26 May 2010). "Waikato places – Hamilton east of the river". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Road works and the impact on traffic". Hamilton City Council. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  15. ^ Leaman, Aaron (3 April 2010). "Bike stunt a bridge too far". Waikato Times. Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  16. ^ "Stunt rider charged over driving". The New Zealand Herald. 29 September 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Brennan, Nicola (13 February 2010). "Judge shocked at biker's bridge stunt". Waikato Times. Stuff.co.nz. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  18. ^ "The stunt that landed a prankster in court". Close Up. Television New Zealand. 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 

External links[edit]