The Golden Gate
Dr. Tom Marshall
The Golden Gate Bridge is a six lane bridge that connects San Francisco to Marin County
accessible to vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Before the bridge was built, the only way to
cross over the San Francisco Bay over to Marin County from San Francisco was by ferry.
Therefore, if you wanted to have a car to use on the other side, you had to drive all the way
around the bay which would take several hours to do by car, so the ferries were a huge part of the
financial economy of San Francisco. One day there was an eighteen hour traffic jam at the ferry
docks waiting to cross over the bay. This is what made it obvious to the people of San Francisco
that something had to be done to make it easier to cross the bay.
The city of San Francisco called upon three engineers to help with their problem. They
got in contact with Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis to have them come up with
an idea. Their first idea was for two massive cantilevers with a central suspension segment in the
middle to connect the two cantilevers. This idea would cost around $17 million, which was under
what the city expected to spend on other ideas which were around $100 million. The city agreed
to go with this idea only if Straus allowed input from several experts and alter the design.
Southern Pacific owned the ferry services and objected to the Golden Gate Bridge being built
since it would take away from their business, but the calling for a bridge was too large to not
have one built.
Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge started on January 5, 1933 and was finished in
April of 1937. It is known as a Wonder of the Modern World according to the American Society
of Civil Engineers. It is the 8th largest bridge in the world. The bridge is painted an International
Orange and not black and yellow like the United States Navy wanted it to be so it can be seen
through the fog.It is 1.7 miles in length, 746 feet tall in the towers, and has a minimum of 220
feet above the opening of where the San Francisco Bay meets into the Pacific Ocean. The south
tower is 1100 feet out from land, and the north tower sits on the banks of the main land. The
budget for the bridge was $27 million and was $1.3 million under budget when construction was
finished. Some say the Golden Gate Bridge is the most beautiful bridge in the world but is
definitely the most photographed bridge in the world. Until 1964, the bridge was the longest
suspension bridge in the world at 4,200 feet but has since been beat in length. It is the second
longest main span bridge in the United State just behind the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New
York City. In 2005, there have been 1.8 billion cars that have travelled over the bridge since its
opening on May 27, 1937.
Golden Gate Bridge DVD from class
"Golden Gate Bridge."Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Jan. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2013.