West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Archives and History Library to Present Lecture on Construction of the New River Gorge Bridge on Aug. 4


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Erin Riebe will present the talk “The New River Gorge Bridge” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The program begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In 1965, the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) was authorized to provide economic development in isolated areas and to supplement the growing interstate system by providing access to areas in the region. The New River Gorge Bridge was the most expensive undertaking of the ADHS.

When the bridge opened in 1977, it reduced driving time for those using it from a 45-minute trip on winding roads to less than one minute. The bridge also played an important role in the development of the area, linking areas north and south of the gorge as well as West Virginia’s “Corridor L Communities” with the rest of the state.

At the time it was built, the bridge’s arch made it the largest steel arch bridge in the world, a title it held until the construction of China’s Shanghai’s Lupu Bridge in 2003. Though the bridge has a fairly conventional design, its construction represents a number of achievements. The engineers and ironworkers overcame major obstacles due to its enormous scale and the then-remote Appalachian location.

Riebe, National Register of Historic Places coordinator with the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, will detail the history of the efforts to plan and construct the New River Gorge Bridge, which was listed in the National Register in 2013 at the young age of 36.

For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230. The lecture series also is available on the Archives and History YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/wvarchivesandhistory.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.



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