The bridge was built during the reign of the emperor Augustus, although tradition maintains that it was built during the reign of Trajan. The lower part of the bridge to halfway up the pillars survives intact. The bridge was built using local granite. The key stone is 38 metres above water level. The main arch collapsed in 1499 and was subsequently restored, although it was not joined up until 1672. The bridge is 370 metres long and still has seven of its original eleven arches. The earliest reference to it is from 1119, in the will of Doña Urraca, which mentions the bridge being repaired at the expense of King Fernando III el Santo (the Holy).
Until the construction of the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) in 1816, this bridge was the only one that could be used by carriages.