Tauherenikau River Bridge

The Tauherenikau River Bridge, the longest suspended deck in New Zealand, embodies the spirit of engineering excellence, precision, and perseverance. Spanning an impressive 166m length, with 146m between the towers, the bridge is a megastructure commissioned by the Greytown Trails Trust. This noteworthy structure has become integral to the Wairarapa Five Town Trail, catering to countless individuals who traverse the region.

The strategic decision to build the bridge adjacent to the existing rail bridge was made after careful analysis of the high wind environment prevalent in the area. A small, dedicated team of four engineers took up the challenging task of creating a structurally sound, safe, and aesthetically pleasing bridge, contributing significantly to the development and usability of the Five Town Trail.

Project Execution

The Tauherenikau River Bridge was conceived as a project that would need to withstand the high winds characteristic of the Wairarapa region. The construction site adjacent to the existing rail bridge offered unique advantages, primarily providing the potential for wind stability support through structural integration.

The four engineers took on the mammoth task in January, working relentlessly over three months. This was an ambitious timeline, given the team’s size and the project’s magnitude, but they were confident in their abilities and the thoroughness of their plans.

A complex pattern of wind stability cables was incorporated into the design to cope with the prevalent high winds. Additionally, the bridge design integrated wind stability struts that linked to the neighbouring rail bridge, creating a harmonious blend of new and existing structures. These features enabled the bridge to withstand challenging wind conditions and added an innovative layer to the architectural aesthetics of the design.


The project is a testament to the exceptional team effort, meticulous planning, and dedication to addressing the unique environmental challenges of the site. The Tauherenikau River Bridge now stands as a symbol of resilience and engineering innovation, enhancing the connectivity of the Wairarapa Five Town Trail.

The success of this project highlights the importance of precise engineering, effective teamwork, and innovative solutions to environmental challenges. It showcases how structures of this magnitude can be completed successfully within tight timelines by small, dedicated teams. The Tauherenikau River Bridge is not just a conduit for the Five Town Trail but also a sustainable and innovative infrastructure model for future architectural projects in high-wind areas.

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