13 October 2015

Taipo River Bridge Piers

  • Taipo River Bridge Piers, 1993. Geoffrey Thornton Photographic Collection, IPENZ.
  • Taipo River Bridge, November 2014. IPENZ.

The first Taipo River Bridge on the West Coast of the South Island was constructed in the 1860s. However, this was subsequently destroyed in a flood and a replacement structure was built in 1886. The rail bridge consisted of timber trusses and concrete-filled cast iron cylinder piers.

The only remnants of this bridge, designed by Francis William Martin, the Public Works Department’s Resident Engineer based in Greymouth, are two sets of its piers. Unusually, these piers were integrated into the present steel plate girder road bridge.

Heritage recognition

This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage has been recognised by IPENZ with a plaque.

Find out more


13 kilometres west of Jacksons on State Highway 73, West Coast/Buller.


This bridge is open to state highway vehicular traffic.


G Thornton, Bridging the Gap: Early bridges in New Zealand, 1830-1939 (Auckland: Reed, 2001), pp.98, 100.