Cue the Philip Glass for this entrancing footage of a Pennsylvania bridge being born.

While here at The Atlantic Cities we prefer to cover large structures being blown up (OK, maybe just me), every once in a while it's nice to see one getting erected. And when the thing getting built is a bridge, over the course of three years, the lasting impression is allllmost as satisfying.

This is the Monongahela River Bridge, the latest completion in the Mon/Fayette Expressway project managed by the Pennsylvania and West Virginia transportation departments. The bridge crosses the Monongahela (motto: "where banks cave in or erode") near Brownsville, itself located about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. It's part of a larger infrastructure endeavor meant to help the Mon Valley economically recover after the coal and coke industries imploded in the 1980s.

Thanks to somebody's judicious thinking, a webcam mounted near the river caught daily shots of the bridge construction from Nov. 2009 all the way to June. (Current cam.) It's kind of neat seeing how a bridge gets born, section by section. Perhaps in 70 years, when it's rusting and decrepit, we'll be able to bring you footage of it getting blown to smithereens.

Time-Lapse of Mon River Bridge Construction (2 Minute) from Rhonda Smeltzer on Vimeo.

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

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