Hawai`i Roads - HI 50

HI 50

WB at a county route and a state route. There's absolutely no difference in the shields.

EB starting at the same spot to the first of a few bridges on this page, between Hanapepe and Lihu`e. The font used for the "50" is a little smaller and higher than that used for "541", leading the shield to appear more triangular.

Old HI 50, Hanapepe Rd., across the Hanapepe River toward the Swinging Bridge featured on the scenery page (linked at bottom). The 1911 bridge may only be one lane but it's in at least as good shape as the new one.

Heading east across that newer bridge out of Hanapepe to Ele`ele. It was built during a phase when all Hawai`i road construction used the iron-rich lava deposits of which the state obviously has plenty. This led to the "Red Road" on the Big Island and led to the striking redness of this and the next bridge you'll see. Since so much of the rock was used, it's now much more expensive than just getting regular material from the mainland, even accounting for rising shipping costs. When anything has to get patched, like in the third photo, it will stand out as gray or white. Note that Hawai`i stamps the name of the body of water being crossed into every bridge - so you could say the bridge is "named" Hanapepe, but if more than one state highway were to cross the same river/gulch/etc. or if the same highway were to cross it more than once, the bridge "names" would theoretically be the same.

EB at Lele Rd. in Hanapepe, a county route that leads to the Salt Ponds outside town. Supposedly they're still used to evaporate water out of ocean salt, but they didn't look functional when I visited.

The other red bridge, WB entering Waimea across the Waimea River (on the Waimea Bridge, so to speak).

EB leaving Waimea on the same bridge, with a closeup of the northeast parapet showing the bridge date. Many bridges don't have the date, many do, and there seems to be no pattern.

Can't get enough of that bridge? Here's a far shot looking down from the heights of HI 550 exiting Waimea Canyon.

It may be a replica, but this Waimea statue is every bit as important as the original, marking the original discovery site of Hawai`i from which the Western world eventually brought it into the fold. The statue was erected in 1928 by Kaua`i (which would now be Kaua`i County, but then was just an island in a territory).

The signs seem straightforward enough. Starting at HI 550, traffic is directed to continue straight to CR 552 in a rare NJDOT (black-background) sign. HI 50 is a state highway, but this sign is pretty clearly county erected. That will play a role in this narrative soon. The second photo is completely wrong. To the right is not CR 552, it's just Kekaha Rd., possibly old HI 50 (but I think it wasn't) and definitely no more than a cutoff to 552 on the far side of Kekaha. Not only is Kekaha Rd. very possibly slower than just taking HI 50 to actual CR 552, but 552 is by far the slower way into Waimea Canyon. It's also much more dangerous, winding up a steep ridge with sharp dropoffs on either side and little margin for error. In contrast, HI 550 is a state highway and thus has better pavement, actually follows Waimea Canyon (leading to great views), and has a lot more room on either side to pull out just in case. So why does the first sign point traffic straight ahead instead of onto the direct route? Ask Kaua`i County, because I can't figure out why they'd want more traffic on a worse road that they have to pay to maintain. And it can't be for Kekaha's economy, because the signed route takes traffic around the back of town where there's nothing to see.

Onto HI 541
Onto CR 520
Hanapepe scenery off of HI 50
More Kaua`i roads
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