New River Gorge Bridge


U.S. Route 19, Fayette County, West Virginia

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Bridge deck contains 4 lanes.
Length of bridge - 3030'.
Second highest bridge in the United States - 876'.
Longest steel arch in the world - 1,700' span - 370' rise
Construction dates: Spring 1973 to Autumn 1977.
Final cost $37,000,000

The annual Bridge Day Festival is held on the third Saturday of October.  It is the only day when it is legal to parachute off of the New River Gorge Bridge.  The festival is held on the bridge as two lanes of the four lane highway are closed for the day.  Lots of vendors and exhibits are set up on the bridge.  It is estimated that 175,000 people attended the festival October 17, 1998.   Most were at the top, enjoying the food, exhibits, and watching the parachutists leap off the bridge.  It is a six mile, one way walk down to the river and there were only about a thousand people at river level to view the event.

Click images to enlarge:

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View from surface of bridge as B.A.S.E jumper makes the plunge.

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View of bridge from river level.  In my opinion, this is the best place to watch the event.  You get an up close view of the landings.  The official landing area is quite small and many parachutists land in the water.  There are several boats in the water to rescue these jumpers.

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Two jumpers coming down together.  It was a calm sunny day and I saw as many as seven parachutists jump at the same time.

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This was the beach target landing area.

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Another parachutist makes a successful landing.

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Guess where she is going to land !!!

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The day was warm, but the water was a little cold.  The NPS boat can be seen coming to the rescue !!!

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This is the beach where we watched the parachutists land.  You can see whitewater rafters in the river.  Everybody had a good time and it was a successful bridge day with only a few minor injuries.