For most people, the Wailua Bridge is a means to travel from one place to another on Kauai. The bridge connects the populated Lihue, Wailua and Kapaa areas and is one of the most trafficked spots on the island. However, the bridge itself is worthy as a destination. Below, the bridge is a cool place for beachcombing, for hanging out and for admiring the scenery of the Wailua River.
A bridge was first built at this location in 1895. In 1919, this wrought iron bridge was replaced by a concrete bridge, with part of the wrought iron used to construct the Opaeka’a Road Bridge in the Wailua Homesteads. A third bridge for a railroad was constructed in 1921.
In the 1950s the railroad bridge was converted to a roadway for use by cane haul trucks. A fourth bridge was built at the site in 1949. In the 1990s and 2000s the State Department of Transportation converted the bridges to the present configuration. The abutments of the 1919 bridge can still be seen today.¹
To visit the bridge area, park in the small parking lot at Wailua Beach just before 580 when heading towards Kapaa. (The parking lot can only be accessed from the north bound lanes.)
This area should be avoided during heavy rains and runoff. This area was hit with heavy flooding and a deluge of logs and other debris during the historic flooding of April 2018.
When it’s calm, the location’s natural beauty transcends the constant flow of the traffic above. A sandbar at the mouth of the Wailua River provides a refreshing place for fun and sun. Go underneath the bridge for a dramatic view upriver.
Components of older bridges have been used for the present bridge configuration. The abutements from the 1919 bridge can still be seen today.
Dramatic views of the Wailua River can be found underneath the bridge.