West Virginia September 27, 2020
The Highest Interstate Bridge In The Whole Country Is Right Here In West Virginia
You probably already know that West Virginia has one of the highest bridges in the United States: the New River Gorge Bridge. But did you know that we actually have not just one but TWO of the highest bridges in the U.S. right here in West Virginia?
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West Virginia is a land of rivers and canyons. We are the only state to be completely within Appalachia, after all. So then it should come as no surprise that we are also a land of bridges.
The Phil G. McDonald Memorial Bridge, better known to many locals as the Glade Creek Bridge, crosses Glade Creek on Interstate 64 in Raleigh County, a few miles east of Beckley, West Virginia.
It's a deck truss bridge spanning 2,179 feet, and many travelers zoom right over it without even realizing its significance.
But significant it is: it holds the record as the highest interstate bridge in the Interstate Highway System, with a deck height of 700 feet. It is also numbered among the 10 highest bridges in the United States (it comes in at #6) and the 100 tallest bridges in the world (it's #81)!
The bridge is named for Phill G. McDonald, a U.S. Army soldier from Beckley who received the military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his service during Operation MacArthur in the Vietnam War, where, at the age of 26, he sacrificed his own life while providing cover for his platoon as they moved to safety.
Have you traveled across this unique, record-holding memorial bridge? Did you know of its significance as you did so? Next time, you will! The Phil G McDonald/Glade Creek Bridge is located about half-way between Sandstone and Beckley, between exits 129 and 133 on Interstate 64.
And don't forget to take a look around you as you cruise through this portion of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. It truly is a beautiful piece of country, one of the prettiest in the nation, right here in our own backyard.
Youtuber Ivan Leef captured some amazing drone footage of the Glade Creek Bridge that you may enjoy watching as well:
And as we alluded to earlier, this bridge is not the only amazing one around! You can read about a few other record-holding bridges around the state as well, including the
Wheeling Suspension Bridge, the Philippi Covered Bridge, the Parkersburg Railroad Bridge, and of course, the New River Gorge Bridge! Address: 37.768333°N, 81.041667°W