FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Bridge Day 2023 may have come and gone but the day after the event this year marks a very special day for the New River Gorge Bridge.

Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, marks the 46th anniversary of the New River Gorge Bridge. The bridge is the world’s fifth-longest single arch bridge. Construction was completed on Oct. 22, 1977, and it was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

The bridge was originally built as a way to make traveling across the Gorge safer and faster. According to the National Park Service, the New River Gorge Bridge provided a way for travelers to avoid navigating down the mountain roads to cross the New River. The construction project turned what was a 40-minute drive into less than a minute to cross the Gorge!

The NPS says that the bridge’s design comes from the challenge of creating a bridge that would be able to span the Gorge on the mountains. Along with being the fifth-longest single arch bridge in the world, the New River Gorge Bridge is also the longest steel span in the western hemisphere and the third-highest bridge in the United States, according to the NPS.

The bridge has a height of 876 feet, a length of 3,030 feet, and weighs 88,000,000 pounds. The arch’s length spans a total of 1,700 feet, the NPS says.

There is also only one day a year where pedestrian traffic is allowed on the bridge – the annual Bridge Day event!

(Video in the story shows the top stories for Monday, October 23, 2023)