Happy 75th Birthday to San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

This Sunday, the Golden Gate Bridge turns 75.(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET)

On Sunday, May 27th, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 years old.  The famous red bridge connects San Francisco with northern Marin County.  Prior to the construction of the bridge, the only way to get across was by ferry.

The Golden Gate Bridge, a wonder of the world for 75 years, an article posted in CNET by author Daniel Terdiman, provides an excellent summary and history of the bridge and is well worth reading.

All was not smooth during the construction of the bridge which did not begin until January 5, 1933.  Disaster struck several times:

  1. A steamship on its way to Portland, Ore., crashed in heavy fog into the just-finished access trestle — which was extending 1,100 feet into the Golden Gate Strait.
  2. High seas smashed and destroyed several sections of the bridge.
  3. Another storm battered the construction, wrecking 800 feet of access trestle.
  4. Work had been underway for more than three years when a traveling derrick toppled in October, 1936, killing a worker named Kermit Moore. He was the first to die during the construction. Ten more would perish in a scaffolding collapse in February, 1937.

Some Interesting Facts about the bridge:

  • Total length, (Including approaches), is 1.7 miles (8,981 feet or 2,737 m) ; width is 90 ft (27 m); and middle span i9s 4,200 ft (1,966 m)
  • The average clearance above the water is 220n ft ((67m)
  • Total weight (when built) is 894,500 tons
  • Total weight (today) is 887,000 tons
  • 128 lights are installed on the bridge roadway. They are 250-watt high pressure sodium lamps installed in 1972; The 24 tower sidewalk lights are 35-watt low pressure sodium lamps; 12 light illuminate each tower, 400 watts each, and an airway beacon tops each tower
  • There are 1.2 million rivets
  • Repairs are constantly needed due to high winds and fog
  • Approximately 110,000 cars cross the bridge every day
  • The bridge cost $35 million to build ($39 million including interest paid on the bonds).  In today’s dollars, the bridge would cost $1.2 billion to build.


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