A bridge that spanned the Monongahela River for 79 years near Point Marion was destroyed this morning in a controlled implosion that dropped debris into the water below.
The Albert Gallatin Memorial Bridge, which for decades had carried Route 88 between the Fayette County town and Dunkard, Greene County, crashed into the Monongahela at 9 a.m., leaving a mass of tangled metal in the river next to the new bridge, which recently had opened to traffic.
For safety reasons, Route 88 was closed around 7 a.m. An 800-foot zone had been established around the area as a precaution.
The old bridge was considered one of the more dangerous spans in the region, though it was in use until recently.
Workers were seen over the weekend taking measures to protect nearby homes from the implosion.
The new bridge is expected to reopen around noon. Motorists who must cross the river are being forced to take a lengthy detour that follows Route 88 to Route 21 at Paisley, across the river near Masontown, then south on Route 166 to Point Marion.