The New River Gorge Bridge

When it opened in 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge was the highest vehicular bridge
in the world, a record it kept until the 2004 opening of the Millau Viaduct in France.

The New River Bridge has brought more publicity to WV than anything since the Civil War.  It's one of the most amazing feats of mans design, fitting into the environment without distraction.  You can find all the information you'd ever want to know about the bridge on Google,  but this page is more of a personal account. I watched the bridge as it was being built.  I made trips to the site every month and took pictures.  Most of those photos have been lost however.

The last Cords being installed. Even the air temperature had to taken into account to fit those last pieces.


I took this photo on a cold Sunday morning by setting the timer on my camera...  then running down the beam,  turning around and walking back when the shutter fired.  Most people think there was a net covering the edges of the bridge..


Not Always

As you can see from this photo, (and the one above) there was nothing to my left but 876 feet of air. 

As I walked across the bridge many times, I had no idea that in just a few short years I would be directly involved for 25 years in something called "Bridge Day".   I would take-up skydiving not long after these photos, but jumping off the bridge never really entered my mind at the time.  Before too long, I would be an important part of the crew that made Bridge Day what it is today.  I hired all the transportation,  helped with the day to day duties, and even built the stairs each year that the jumpers would use.  (at first, we just climbed over the rail)  More importantly, I fought against those who wanted Bridge Day to end.  Old fogies that couldn't see the benefit of having 450 crazy jumpers a year risk their lives just for fun.... but at the same time bringing more publicity to the state than it could EVER hope to get otherwise. The entire area has been built around Bridge Day and Whitewater rafting, and the money that comes from Bridge Day alone runs into the millions.  I still have all the newspaper clippings that I wrote about keeping Bridge Day alive. And they were directed towards those in state government. But then, a new threat arrived when the federal government acquired all the property under the bridge, and wanted to stop bridge day.  By then however, we had enough people in power in Washington to put a halt to their plans.  After all, the biggest one day payday in the history of the state wasn't going to end just because of "rules".  So a waiver was signed with the Feds and Bridge Day continues to this very day.



This picture of me was taken of me  in 1981.  It's not Bridge Day.  I just wanted to jump off the bridge.

This has since been outlawed by the Feds who own all the property under the bridge.  There was never a law saying that you couldn't jump off the bridge. There's still no law.  The law states that you "cant stop or stand on a bridge" unless it's an emergency.  However, there IS a law that you cant "land" on federal property without permission.

This was taken about 6 years ago when we got the new diving board.  Someone wondered how much flex the board had,  so I walked out early one morning before Bridge Day started just to see for myself. That's Jason taking my photo.  He's the Bridge Day coordinator,  after I turn down the position because they wouldn't insure me.


Two of many of my photos published by both Charleston newspapers during construction.


To read more about the beginnings of Bridge Day, click the link below: