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)
Number of spans 3
Piers in water 2
Designer Stanley Jones
Constructed by Roose Shipping
Construction begin 6 August 1934 (1934-08-06)
Opened 26 April 1937 (1937-04-26)
Daily traffic 20,000

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.[1] It spans from River Road, on the east bank of the river, to Victoria Street, on the west side.[2]

It was registered as a Category I 'Historic Place' with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust on 30 August 1990.[3] The Great Race starts just north of the bridge, with the rowers passing under it during the race.[4]

Design and construction[edit]

The bridge is 139 metres (457 ft) long, and has two land spans,[5] 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.[6][7] The arches and spans are made from reinforced concrete.[5] It was designed by Stanley Jones of Auckland, and Roose Shipping started construction in August 1934.[5] The bridge was opened in April 1937 by the Minister of Public Works Bob Semple.[5] It was the fourth large reinforced concrete tied-arch bridge in New Zealand, and the second over the Waikato River.[7]

When the building of a bridge in the Fairfield suburb was proposed, many people felt that it would seldom be used.[5] Sixty-five years later, in 2002, there were about 20,000 vehicles travelling across the bridge each day.[8]

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.[9] In 1991 a reconstruction project costing NZ$1.1 million took place, as the bridge was suffering the effects of concrete cancer,[5] discovered in 1980.[10]

During January 2011, the bridge was closed for three weeks for maintenance.[11]

Motorcycle stunt[edit]

Fairfield Bridge at night

In 2009 Jonathan Bennett of the Mormon Few Stunt Crew was charged, and in 2010 was convicted,[12] for dangerous driving for riding a motorcycle on the arches of Fairfield Bridge.[13][14] The stunt was filmed and subsequently posted on YouTube.[15]


  1. ^ "Hamilton's bridges". Hamilton City Council. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Fairfield Bridge, Waikato". Google Maps. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fairfield Bridge". New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Fairfield Bridge". Hamilton City Libraries. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b Henshall, F. P. (10 April 1948). "The Fairfield Bridge, Hamilton". New Zealand Engineering. 3 (4): 387–389. ISSN 0028-808X. 
  8. ^ "Water levels may affect Hamilton bridge". The New Zealand Herald. 13 November 2002. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Wintec – A History of the Land on Which Our City Campus Sits". Waikato Institute of Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Swarbrick, Nancy (26 May 2010). "Waikato places – Hamilton east of the river". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Road works and the impact on traffic". Hamilton City Council. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Stunt rider charged over driving". The New Zealand Herald. 29 September 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ "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.