Construction of the bridge began in June, 1974. At the conclusion in 1977, New River Gorge Bridge was the longest steel span in the Western Hemisphere, and the 3rd highest in the United States. Completion of the bridge reduced a 40-minute drive down a winding mountain road to a very few minutes. An artist’s rendering of the bridge represents West Virginia on the commemorative state quarter, and in 2013 the New River Gorge Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Every October, dare-devils come from all around the world to West Virginia to parachute into the Gorge from the New River Bridge. This is one of the few places in the world that it is legal (only on Bridge Day) to jump from a bridge. The first official Bridge Day was celebrated in 1980, when two parachutists jumped from a plane, landed on the bridge and joined up with three other jumpers. All five of them leaped into the Gorge.