The New River Gorge Bridge was for many years the longest steel-arch bridge in the world , with a length of 3,030 feet (924m) . It is situated near Fayetteville in West Virginia , USA .
The New River Gorge Bridge carries US Route 19 over the New River at a height of 876 feet (267 m), making it the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas, and the fifth highest in the world. Before the 2004 opening of the Millau Viaduct in France, it was the highest in the world . It is crossed by an average of 16,200 motor vehicles per day.
The construction began in June 1974, and completed on October 22, 1977. was designed by the Michael Baker Company, under the direction of Chief Engineer Clarence V. Knudsen, and executed by U.S. Steel’s American Bridge Division. Final cost of construction was $37 million (approximately $4 million over bid). It is made from COR-TEN steel. The use of COR-TEN in construction presented several challenges; notable among them was ensuring that the weld-points weathered at the same rate as the rest of the steel.
The bridge is the centerpiece of Fayette County’s “Bridge Day“, during which the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. Security concerns have prompted the closing of the entire span to vehicles during the festival. This festival includes demonstrations of rappelling, ascending and BASE jumping, and is held every October on the third Saturday. Bungee jumping has been banned from Bridge Day since 1993. The bridge is within the New River Gorge National River and the National Park Service operates a visitor center at the northern end of the bridge with scenic overlooks and a staircase that descends partially into the gorge.
White Water Rafting - Every New River rafting trip that goes down through the gorge goes under the bridge. It’s a great way to see it, and you won’t find a better photo op than being down on the water. And on Bridge Day, the best way to get a front row seat is on a raft.
There’s always something happening around the gorge. Live music, festivals and food. Our events cover just about all the things you could want on a vacation to the mountains. The bridge is a symbol of all that’s right about a New River Gorge vacation. Larger than life with a history to match, the New River Gorge Bridge really does connect everything there is to do here…