There are many wondrous places in this country that leave locals and tourists in awe. Many are suspension and foot bridges that are admired for their massive size and architectural excellence. There is actually a bridge near Virginia that's one of the largest in the country and is a significant piece of Southern history. 

The New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia originally began construction in June of 1974 as part of a construction contract rewarded to the American Bridge Division of US Steel.

The bridge was completed and opened for use in October 1977. Immediately, its economic impact was noticed as the transportation over the bridge reduced traffic and travel times for locals, mainly trucking companies, by over 40 minutes. 

The bridge is the longest continuous-span bridge constructed of steel in the US. The full length of the bridge is 3,030 feet and six sinches long.

The arch alone is 1,700-feet-long and 876 feet above the northern end of the New River Gorge National River. Prior to 2003, it held the title as the longest steel arch bridge, but was outmatched to Shanghai's Lulu Bridge in China. 

It wasn't long after its opening that thrill seekers found the bridge as an opportunity for an adrenaline rush.

In 1980, a coal mine foreman BASE jumped from the bridge. Since then, after realizing that more people would repeat this feat, Fayettville and the National Parks Service created Bridge Day.

Every third Saturday of October, the National Parks Service allows BASE jumpers to propel from the bridge. For tourists who are a little less than dardevils, visitors are still welcomed to walk across the top of the bridge. 

Outside of Bridge Day, visitors are only allowed to walk underneath the bridge with a tour guide. This attraction costs $72.

Today, the National Parks Service only allows 450 skydivers to jump on Bridge Day, however spectators are well into the tens of thousands anually.

It's actually become a highly anticipated local festival that creates a lot more traffic and buzz around the bridge. This year, Bridge Day is Saturday, October 17. Grab your parachutes. 

New River Gorge Bridge 

Price: Prices vary

Address: 104 Main St., Glen Jean, WV

Why You Need To Go: This massive 3,000-foot-long bridge has a special day in October where skydivers can jump from 800 foot in the air. 


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