The Old Iron Waimea Bridge

At 11 a.m. on Friday, April 19, 1940, Kaua‘i Board of Supervisors Chairman William Ellis opened the present Waimea Bridge to the public by cutting a ceremonial ribbon stretched across the Waimea end of the bridge.

Built of reinforced concrete, Waimea Bridge is 360 feet long with four spans. Two spans are 75 feet long, and the other two are 105 feet long. It has a 24-foot roadway and two 3-foot wide sidewalks.

It was built by EE Black Construction beginning in May 1939 at a cost of $85,000, along with one mile of roadway at a cost of $60,000, and the tearing down of the old iron bridge it replaced for $5,000, for a total cost of $150,000.

Construction, which was financed by the federal government, also included 4-foot wide sidewalks with concrete curbs through Waimea town.    

Before the first Waimea Bridge, which was made of wood, was built across the Waimea River at Waimea in the early 1880s, people crossed the river at a ford located about a half mile above the present bridge location.

But, they only did so provided that the river was not flooded, a more common occurrence then, since the river had not yet been diverted upriver for irrigation purposes and a greater volume of water flowed downriver.

People also crossed the river in a scow that traversed the river a short distance upriver of the present concrete bridge, but the scow would often become stuck on many sandbars that formed then.

Then in 1904, the wooden bridge was taken down and an iron bridge was built across the river at the scow crossing.

The iron bridge, which led into Waimea Road, then the main street of Waimea, stood until it was demolished shortly after the concrete bridge opened.


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