At Kapaia Valley on Kauai, in the 1920s, most of the plantation villagers traveled by foot because they could not afford to own an automobile. A foot bridge was used daily to go to and from work, school, shopping and recreation. With the emergence of automobiles as a major form of transportation, and with the closing of sugar plantations, the swinging bridge became less important as a mode of transportation.
The Kapaia Swinging Bridge is a suspension bridge. It is one of four known similarly constructed pedestrian suspension bridges in Hawaii. All are located on Kauai – Hanapepe, Waimea and Kapa‘a. Kauai is not the only Island with pedestrian-only bridges; of note, Maui has a couple, an older bridge in Waihe‘e and a new one in Kapalua.