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Bay ”Golden Gate” Bridge – San Francisco, USA

The Bay Bridge is more commonly known around the world as the Golden Gate Bridge.  It has been a major symbol of American engineering prowess and prestige since its completion in the 1930’s.  At the time, no one was sure if such an ambitious project could be possible.  The world was stunned upon its completion as the longest suspension bridge in the world with the tallest towers.

Today, many other bridges have dwarfed it.  Most notably, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan is over 700 meters longer in the central span and is the longest suspension bridge in the world since 1998.


The idea to connect the City of San Francisco to the northern peninsula across the ’Golden Gate’ was fashioned by Joseph Strauss.  He was a civil engineer who had designed and built hundreds of drawbridges in the area, though most were inland and quite small.  He spent a decade gathering support for the project, including the prominent architect Irving Morrow, engineer Charles Ellis, and designer Leon Moisseiff.  While Ellis and Moisseiff helped Strauss with the daunting task of working through the mathematics of what would be the longest suspension bridge in the world, Morrow would ultimately distinguish the bridge from all others for the rest of time.  He was the principal artist responsible for the Art Deco features of the bridge, along with its unique color: International Orange.  While many people mistake the color of the bridge as unpainted or rusted, it is actually a paint chosen to help increase visibility in the heavy fog that often rolls through San Francisco Bay without warning.

By 1933, the bridge got the go-ahead by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration program.  It was a massive program that opened up federal funds to help assuage the damage of the Great Depression.  Unprecedented even today, the bridge was completed in just four years.  Work started in January 1933, while the grand opening was in May 1937.  To give you a perspective, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge took over 10 years to complete, though it is indeed much longer.  One notable development was the addition of a safety net hanging under the bridge during its construction.  Though 11 people died throughout the building process, the net saved 19 people.  Survivors joined an infamous group known as the ”Halfway to Hell Club”.


The Golden Gate Bridge has a total span of 1280 meters and sports six lanes of traffic and 2 lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists.  During rush hour, four lanes are reserved for the major direction of traffic.  A toll of $5 for southbound traffic remains in effect for commuters, while northbound and pedestrian traffic is toll free.