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  • Golden Gate Bridge

    San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

     

    History
    Weather Conditions
    Paint
    Materials
    Toll/Visiting
    Facts

    History Back to Top

    Golden Gate Bridge

    The Golden Gate Bridge (Highway 101 North) links San Francisco with Marin County. The bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait that it spans; the strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.

    Joseph B. Strauss was Chief Engineer on the bridge. At a cost of $35 million, the 1.2-mile bridge took more than four years to build. Eleven men lost their lives during construction (a memorial plaque at the southern entrance to the west sidewalk acknowledges the men who were killed). A net suspended under the bridge during construction, from end to end, saved the lives of 19 men who became known as the "Half-Way-to-Hell Club".

    Weather Conditions Back to Top

    Golden Gate Bridge fog

    Before its completion in 1937, the bridge was considered "unbuildable" because of foggy weather, high winds and strong ocean currents sweeping through a deep rugged canyon below. Often shrouded in thick fog, the bridge sways 27 feet to withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour. The bridge has only been closed for weather conditions on three occasions.

    Paint Back to Top

    Golden Gate Bridge cable

    The color of the bridge, known as "International Orange", was chosen because it blends well with the bridge's natural surroundings and provides enhanced visibility to passing ships. The PMS code for International Orange is 173, the CMYK colors are Cyan = 0%, Magenta = 96%, Yellow = 100%, Black (K) = 6%

    It's a popular misconception that the bridge is painted "end-to-end" each year. In 1965, due to advancing corrosion, a program to remove the original lead-based paint from the bridge began. The bridge requires routine touch up on an ongoing basis by a staff of 38 painters.

    Materials Back to Top

    Golden Gate Bridge rivets

    US-manufactured steel was used to build the bridge and shipped through the Panama Canal to San Francisco. The two great cables contain enough strands of steel wire (80,000 miles) to encircle the equator three times. The concrete poured into its piers and anchorages would pave a five-foot wide sidewalk from New York to San Francisco.

    Toll / Visiting Back to Top

    Golden Gate Bridge joggers

    Pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed across the bridge on pathways with sweeping views of the City, Alcatraz and the Marin Headlands. The bridge toll for vehicles is $6 collected when entering San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge was the first bridge to institute one-way toll collection, a system that proved so successful it is now used on many bridges throughout the world.

    Vantage points from the San Francisco side include the Toll Plaza and Visitors Center (before crossing the bridge) and Fort Point (under the bridge). The first exit on the Marin side of the bridge, Vista Point, provides outstanding views of the San Francisco skyline. The best way to see the bridge is to walk across it which takes about an hour round trip. When walking the bridge dress warmly whatever time of year.

    Facts Back to Top

    Total Length including Approaches:

    1.7 miles

    8,981 ft

    2,737 m

    Length of Suspension Span
    including main span and side span:

    1.22 miles

    6,450 ft

    1966 m

    Width of Bridge:

     

    90 ft

    27 m

    Total Weight of Bridge, anchorages
    north and south approaches:

    887,000 tons / 804,700,000 kg

    Height of towers above water:

     

    746 ft

    227 m

    Towers

    Height of towers above roadway:

     

    500 ft

    152 m

    Rivets in each tower:

    600,000

    Cables

    Diameter of cables over wrapping:

     

    36.375 in

    .92 m

    Length of one cable:

     

    7,650 ft

    2.332 m

    Total length of wire used:

     

    80,000 mi

    129,000 km

    Number of wires in each cable:

     

    61

    Original cost to build the bridge:

     

    $35 million

    Cost to construct a new bridge
    in 2003 dollars:

     

    $1.2 billion

    Number of vehicles that have
    crossed the bridge (from opening
    in 1937 through August 2008):

    1,825,872,270

    Source: Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, goldengatebridge.org