FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) — On this day 42 years ago in West Virginia, the New River Gorge Bridge opened to traffic, hailed by Senator Jennings Randolph and Governor Jay Rockefeller as a link to the state’s past and future.
Video from state archives shows Rockefeller announcing that the opening of the bridge would bring West Virginians from the south and north closer together than ever before. He told a large crowd that it would give us new transportation and new lifeblood.
The opening of the bridge was highly anticipated, with three former governors (Okey Patteson, Hulett Smith and Arch Moore) coming for the dedication. Thousands showed up to be among the first to walk across it. The bridge cost $37 million to build. One man died during construction and seven others were hurt, according to records.