Fairfield Bridge

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Fairfield Bridge
Fairfield Bridge3 cropped.jpg
Coordinates37°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
CarriesMotor vehicles, pedestrians
CrossesWaikato River
LocaleFairfield, Hamilton
Preceded byWhitiora Bridge
Followed byPukete Bridge
Total length139 metres (457 ft)
No. of spans3
Piers in water2
DesignerStanley Jones
Constructed byRoose Shipping
Construction start6 August 1934 (1934-08-06)
Opened26 April 1937 (1937-04-26)
Daily traffic20,000 (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 16 June 2017.
  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. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. 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]