Japan is the home of the small picturesque bridge of timber arches, frequently built without the use of a single metal nail or bolt. Christian Barman cites Japanese bridges as examples of ‘exquisitely perfected temporary construction’. Briges and temples were often rebuilt anually. the famous Kintai-kyo bridge at Iwakuni used to have its five arches rebuilt in succession, so that the whole bridge was renewed every twenty-five years. According to Japenese belief structures must never be allowwed to fall into decay as that would enfeeble the spirit of continuity on which the survival of mankind depends (H. Shirley 32).
"Ponty" as it's known to the locals, is famous for its old bridge, which was, when built, the longest single spanning bridge in the world. The bridge, built in 1750 by William Edwards (a self taught mason) was so long (45m / 140 feet span) that it took three attempts to get it right. The first, a wooden bridge was washed away by floods, the second, of stone, collapsed during construction because of its weight. The third design was also stone, but much lighter because it had 6 large holes in it... 3 on each side, of diameter 9, 6 and 3 feet. Edwards was paid 50 pounds to maintain it for seven years. In 1857, a three-arch bridge was built alongside to make it easier for traffic to cross the river (the old bridge was a bit too steep).