NITRO, W.Va. -- Ellen Fink and her daughter leaned against the railing in the middle of the new Nitro-St. Albans bridge.
"We wanted to get to the highest point," said the elder Fink, 35, of St. Albans.
For about two hours Thursday evening people were allowed to walk across the bridge for the first time before it opens to traffic Friday.
"One day she'll be able to tell her grandchildren that she walked on the bridge before it opened," Fink said, looking at her daughter, 13-year-old Emily.
More than one thousand people took advantage of the opportunity to walk across the new structure, officially known as the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge, which connects the two cities over the Kanawha River.
The old Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge was built in 1934. It was deteriorating and a longtime safety concern.
"Everybody was scared of the old bridge," said Nancy Hancart, 56, of Nitro. "I remember standing on it and feeling the shaking."
The new structure has three lanes, 6-foot-wide shoulders and 5-foot-wide sidewalks. Kevin Hancart, 58, of Nitro, said he appreciates that each of the bridge's entry points feature three lanes: two for oncoming traffic and one for exiting traffic.
"That's really going to help congestion," he said.