Narrows Bridge closed


The Narrows Bridge across the Waikato River has been closed until further notice.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) today closed the bridge, a main route within Tamahere and to the Hamilton International Airport, as a precautionary safety measure due to the potential for further erosion.

The bridge on State Highway 21 was reduced to a single lane on August 31 to reduce loads on it while investigations were undertaken to assess river bank erosion levels in its vicinity.

The Narrows Bridge

The closure means people travelling to Hamilton International Airport on SH21 are advised to allow approximately 30 additional minutes for their journey. The recommended alternate route to and from the airport during the closure is via SH3 (Ohaupo Road). Detour signs are in place.

NZTA Acting State Highway Manager Michelle Te Wharau said the agency had been unable to continue monitoring the erosion today due to rising river levels. With further adverse weather forecast the decision had been made to close the bridge because of the potential for more erosion.

The closure will be reassessed when the water levels drop to a point where further analysis of the river banks can be undertaken. It is hoped this analysis can be undertaken within a week, but this will be dependent on rainfall and river levels.

“We recognise that this bridge is an important link for both the travelling public and nearby residents. We will do everything we can to reopen it again as soon as we consider it safe,” Mrs Te Wharau said.

The Narrows Bridge, built in 1940, was one of the earliest in New Zealand to use reinforced concrete girders supported by an arch. The bridge, which has a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Category 2 rating, replaced an earlier one, built of wood in 1879.

(Waikato Times photo)

4 thoughts on “Narrows Bridge closed

  • September 19, 2010 at 11:27 am


    We are due to come down to an event at Mystery Creek Events Centre on Friday 24 September. We are booked in accommodation in Narrows Lane. Now that the bridge is likely to still be out, can you please advise an alternative route from Narrows Lane to the events centre?

    This is much apprectiated.

    • September 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Antonia, NZTA has indicated that the bridge will be open early in the week so you may well be able to use it by Friday. See advice here. However, if that’s not the case you will have to drive into Hamilton, taking Cobham Dr and on to SH3/Ohaupo Rd, heading towards Te Awamutu and turning left into Airport Rd/SH21 to Mystery Creek. Your Narrows Lane hosts will be able to guide you, I’m sure.

  • September 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    As a local resident I use this bridge on numerous occasions every day and now that it has been closed, whilst it is an inconvenience, I feel relieved. The safety aspects of this bridge lie not only in it’s structure but also it’s management. It was never designed to accommodate the volume and size of traffic crossing it today. The trucks which ignore speed limits with boring regularity are an accident waiting to happen. Until recently this has been a two way bridge, however this past couple of weeks it has been reduced to single lane traffic managed by lights and has had virtually no impact on traffic flow. I would hope that the long term solution for this dangerous bridge is replacement, however in the short term I sincerely hope it will be reduced to a single lane permanently. NZTA – lets prevent a hideous accident instead of trying to pick up the pieces afterwards!

    • September 17, 2010 at 6:46 pm

      Brenda, Lots more inconvenience to come, I’m afraid. NZTA said today the bridge is not currently scheduled for replacement. The current closure is because of river bank erosion and is not to do with the bridge structure. Read more here.


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