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HCR - Wailuku River Bridge


Missing span

Arial view facing south of the mouth of Wailuku River after the tsunami. The railroad bridge is in the foreground, with the east span missing. These two remaining spans are now a deck truss bridge over Kolekole creek and park. The concrete arch brige on Puueo and Keawe is visible in the background

Photo taken by Orville T. Magoon, NOAA/NGDC, 1946 April. Edited by Fmiser, 2013


View this photo at ngdc.noaa.gov

BH Photo #246845


One span was washed away by the tsunami in April 1946. The other two spans were moved, reconfigured as a deck truss, and carry Hawaii Belt Road over Kolekole Creek.

Not entirely lost, but not all together relocated 

Written by Fmiser

Hilo Railroad built a concrete bent trestle bridge here. In 1916 when Hilo Railroad reorganized as Hawaii Consolidated Railway. This three span riveted Warren truss bridge was built after ten of the trestle bridge bents collapsed in 1923. HCR used the line until it filed for abandonment shortly after the April 1946 tsunami. All assests, including right-of-way, bridges, buildings, and running stock was sold as salvage to Gilmore Steel and Supply Company.

Two years later, Hawaii Territory bought the remaining bridges and the right-of-way. Hawaii Belt Road largely follows the old railroad alignment, including this river crossing. A steel stringer bridge was built to replace the damaged Warren truss bridge for the crossing of Wailuku River.

But the two truss spans that survived the tsunami were not scrapped. They were floated up the coast on barges and lifted into place as a deck truss to replaced the damaged steel trestle crossing Kolekole Creek.


Lost Warren through truss with all verticals bridge over Wailuku River on Hawaii Consolidated Railway
Wainaku, Hawaii County, Hawaii
Two of the original three spans are in use as a automotive deck truss across Kolekole Creek.
Built after the collapse of the original trestle bridge in 1923 . One of the three spans was washed away by the tsunami in 1946.
- Hawaii Consolidated Railway (HCR)
Warren through truss with all verticals
Length of largest span: 140.0 ft.
Total length: 420.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+19.72819, -155.08746   (decimal degrees)
19°43'41" N, 155°05'15" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
5/281230/2182748 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 55193 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 14, 2013: Updated by Fmiser: Corrected build date
  • January 13, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Hawaii Consolidated Railway", "Railroad"
  • January 13, 2013: New photo from Fmiser
  • January 12, 2013: Essay added by Fmiser

Related Bridges 


  • Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com


HCR - Wailuku River Bridge April Fools Day Tsunami
Posted April 4, 2016, by Michael Taylor (Battlebotguy2 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

70 years and 4 days ago this bridge was destroyed and many over 150 lives lost when on April 1'st the Aleutian Islands Earthquake struck creating a tsunami that devastated the Alaskan and Hawaiian coasts. However where a dark cloud is a silver lining exists and this ones silver lining was good.

After the tsunami a new warning system was put in place so that a disaster of this magnitude never happened again.