2011 $4.95 New River Gorge Bridge
Issue Date: April 11, 2011
City: Fayetteville, WV
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint "USPS"
Built to spur economic growth in West Virginia’s isolated Appalachian Mountains, the New River Gorge Bridge has become the region’s star attraction. Thousands of people flock to the area each year, drawn by the spectacular steel-arch bridge and the recreational activities that have grown around it.
The New River Gorge area boomed with coal mining towns during the late 1800s. As the industry faded in the 20th century, families moved on and a lush hardwood forest reclaimed the steep gorge. Those who remained endured a 45-minute drive over winding mountain roads to cross the river, discouraging interstate traffic and business growth.
The Appalachian Development Highway System remedied these issues with the construction of a 3,030-foot steel bridge spanning the gorge. The New River Gorge Bridge was the longest and highest steel-arch bridge when it opened in 1977, shortening the 45-minute trip to under a minute.
Over 16,000 vehicles travel across the bridge daily. The area has become a popular destination for outdoor adventurers, with “Bridge Day” the highlight of the year. On that day, the bridge is temporarily closed to traffic. Thousands of spectators converge to witness thrillseekers jump from its deck and parachute 876 feet down into the canyon.