The New River Gorge Bridge started in June 1974 and was completed on 22nd October 1977 and was an instant tourist attraction. On August 14th 2013, less than 40 after construction, the bridge was registered on the National Register of Historic Places!
The bridge is built in a fairly hostile environment for such structures as it crosses a gorge that is known for a high wind velocity but added to this the average temperatures vary from -8℃ - 30℃. The steel is prone to temperatures that both contract and expand the steel and at its coldest the bridge can become enveloped in ice. Salt cannot be used to deal with this as it is a corrosive and will damage the structure so a more expensive deicer is used - calcium magnesium acetate (CMO).
The steel used is not standard steel but is instead a steel known as COR-TEN which is already weathered. COR-TEN eliminates the need for painting and will last longer than standard painted steel. The one major challenge to the designers was to ensure that any welding weathered at the same rate as the steel.
Today, the bridge is a huge tourist destination and once a year on the third Saturday of October there is a celebration known as 'Bridge Day'. this celebration has been held every year since 1980, with the exception to 2001 in respect of the victims of 9/11.
The bridge has also been depicted on the West Virginia coin dated 2005.