By Lynn R. Mitchell
The road less traveled is usually the one I will take when exploring the back roads of Virginia because life happens on the back roads. That is where you will find abandoned bridges like this one in Bland County — the old Route 61 truss bridge over Wolf Creek at Rocky Gap (intersection of Rt. 61, Rt. 52, and I-77). The road is blocked by guardrail that is now graffiti-covered and the area was very overgrown on the mid-September day when we happened upon it. Wary of snakes, I didn’t go past the roadblock but if we’re back that way in winter, it would be interesting to explore the bridge since it is noted on Bridgehunter.com as open to pedestrians. It was in amazingly good shape with no rotting boards.
Bridgehunter also noted the bridge was built as a railroad bridge in 1890 and opened to vehicles in 1946 when the railroad was discontinued. It was abandoned in 1987 when the road was straightened, behind where I stood to take this photo, with a concrete bridge that allows two-way traffic. The bridge was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, 2011.
Travel route: From Blacksburg we took Rt. 460 west to the picturesque little town of Narrows in Giles County where we picked up Rt. 61, crossed the New River, and followed Wolf Creek through the mountains of Giles and Bland County on our way to Bluefield, West Virginia. This was just one of the interesting sights along the way, typical of meandering the back roads of America.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
September 17, 2015