For more than 140 years, the Fitzherbert Bridge across the Manawatū River has been a vital piece of infrastructure, helping to connect Palmerston North with the surrounding argicultural hinterland. These two engineering plans depict the original Fitzherbert Bridge and the second structure being proposed as a replacement. The first Fitzhebert Bridge was completed in August 1877 and remained in use until 1935. It was constructed from totara wood and was 251 meters in length with a four-meter-wide carriageway.
During the 1920s the deterioration of the timber structure and an increase in motor traffic led to calls for a new bridge. In 1929 the Government Main Highways Board offered to pay two thirds of the cost, with the Palmerston North Borough Council and the Kairanga County Council jointly funding the remaining third. Plans and specifications were prepared by the Municipalities Engineering staff under the supervision of John R. Hughes, the City Engineer. The contract was awarded to Fletcher Construction Company Ltd., which constructed the bridge between 1933 and 1935. The new concrete bridge was 256 meters in length with a 6.7 meters wide carriageway and 1.5 meters wide footpath. The structure’s most distinctive feature were the four pairs of bowstring arches, each 34.1 meters wide and 9.2 meters high. The total cost of construction was £34,074. It was demolished in 1987, following the construction of the current Fitzherbert Bridge.