The world's longest steel arch bridge, spanning the New River Gorge in West Virginia, was opened to traffic on October 22, 1977. The overall length of the structure is 923.6 m (3,030 feet), with the main arch spanning a distance of 518.2 m (1,700 feet). During the preliminary design stages, various bridge types were considered. The final decision to build a steel arch was based on a combination of cost and aesthetic considerations. By using a high-strength, corrosion-resistant steel, the weight of the structure was kept to a minimum with the added benefit of maintenance-free steelwork blending with the surrounding rugged terrain. Surface conditions in the coal mining region presented problems during foundation design. Special methods were employed to provide for subsurface stabilization where support bents were located in the proximity of mined-out areas. The computer was a major tool in both the design and erection of the bridge. The computer made it possible to determine the most economical configuration for the main arch, and it was used to study many complicated loading and erecting conditions. Erection of the steelwork presented a tremendous challenge. The height of the structure, 267 m (876 feet) above the river, and the heavy member weights dictated the use of a twin 1,067-m (3,500-foot)-cableway system. Construction of the arch across the gorge proceeded from both sides simultaneously utilizing the unique tieback system to support the cantilevered arch truss halves. The 34-million-dollar structure will be a major link in West Virginia's Appalachian Corridor "L" Expressway System. /Author/

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: pp 140-145
  • Monograph Title: Bridge Engineering. Volume 2
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183790
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309026970
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Dec 12 1978 12:00AM