MacArthur Bridge "St Louis" "light painting" "night photography" "art photography" "long exposure photography" urban ruins

Alleys & Ruins no. 131, MacArthur Bridge (2009, St Louis, MO, 12:45am

Alleys & Ruins no. 131, MacArthur Bridge (2009, St Louis, MO, 12:45am


The MacArthur Bridge, which was once part of historic Route 66, connects St Louis, MO to East St Louis, IL across the Mississippi River. The 100 year-old bridge towers over the industrial south side of St Louis, where this was shot and meanders through the run-down buildings in the area

I’ve been to this spot a few times over the years, and in fact shot from this vantage point in 2008, but was not happy with the results. I couldn’t let this majestic tribute to rust just sit there, so in 2009 while in St Louis, I revisited the location.

The top level, built for cars, is abandoned – the decay being so severe in parts that cars would just drop through. The lower level still allows trains to chug through it. You can see a white light trail on the left, as a train rolled through right when the exposure was ending – one of the very few times I’ve allowed a light trail (other than stars) in my alley images.

In 2010 I met an engineer commissioned to study and report on demolishing the bridge. Its fate, he told me, was up in the air.

In 2016 I visited the bridge again and saw they were slowly dismantling the upper, car portion. But for now, trains continue to roll through




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Xavier Nuez

319 N. Albany Ave, Studio 1N5

Chicago, IL 60640


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