3rd Wailua Bridge

If you’ve driven through Wailua, you’re probably familiar with the two bridges across the river. The north-bound lanes split and each goes over a different bridge. Until I went exploring one day, I didn’t know there used to be a third bridge, or rather there are parts of the first bridge still visible. It is even dated 1919, as seen in the first photo.

The bridge to the right is the single lane north-bound bridge that used to be a cane haul road. It is old too, but I don’t know when it was built. The newer bridge to the left has 2 lanes and is dated 1949, which is older than I would’ve guessed. The second photo is taken from this newer bridge and clearly shows the old roadway. I assume that the other end of the old bridge is now under the new bridge. There are other remnants of the old road around the island that I hope to find and document here.

Looking across the river from the old roadway

Looking back at the footing of the old bridge

I really enjoy discovering old structures that have been abandoned and are being taken back by nature. They remind us that the world as we know it is not the same one that our ancestors knew, and that human influence is not permanent.

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  1. Mark says:

    It’s amazing that nature can start taking back a lump of concrete that size in less than a century. I wonder how long our traces would last if we all disappeared tomorrow.

  2. Mom says:

    How quickly the remnants of civilization endure depends a lot on where they are. 150 years later it is still possible to see some of the tracks of the Oregon Trail in the Great Plains where it is mostly a dry climate. In the hot, wet, jungle climate of the Yucatan the vegetation almost totally reclaimed the Maya landmarks.

  3. Andy says:

    The Wailua river by the coast is relatively dry and breezy, so I don’t think the bridge footing will be grown over anytime soon. Like the Maya landmarks of stone, concrete doesn’t really decay, but it can disappear under the vegetation. I have pictures of other old bridges in rainy places that I should post here.

    The river might undermine this bridge, but then again it seems well built against this very purpose and it is protected by the footing of the newer bridge. Whether grown over or just out of out of sight, what fascinates me is how and why the human landscape can be so quickly forgotten. Another example is the log path that I already wrote about.

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