Golden Gate Bridge
|Golden Gate Bridge|
|Carries||6 lanes of US 101/CA 1, people and bicycles|
|Locale||San Francisco, California and Marin County, California|
|Maintained by||Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District|
|Designer||Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis|
|Design||Suspension, truss arch & truss causeways|
|Total length||1.7 mi (2.7 km) or 8,981 ft (2,737.4 m)|
|Width||90 ft (27.4 m)|
|Height||746 ft (227.4 m)|
|Longest span||4,200 ft (1,280.2 m)|
|Vertical clearance||14 ft (4.3 m) at toll gates, higher trucks possible|
|Clearance below||220 ft (67.1 m) at mean high water|
|Opened||May 27, 1937|
|Toll||Cars (southbound only)
$6.00 (cash), $5.00 (FasTrak), $3.00 (carpools during peak hours, FasTrak only)
San Francisco Peninsula with Marin County
The Golden Gate Bridge is a bridge that crosses over the San Francisco Bay. It goes from San Francisco to Marin County, in the U.S. state of California. It was opened for use in 1937. It is 9,266 ft (2824 m) long. When the bridge was finished, it was the longest bridge in the world. Now there are eight bridges that are longer. For many people, it is still one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
Before the bridge, the only way to go north from San Francisco to Marin County was by ferry. The trip by ferry took 20 minutes to complete. Before the bridge was built, San Francisco was the biggest American city still served mostly by ferries. Some experts did not think that people could build a bridge because the water currents between Marin and San Francisco were very strong. Also the water was very deep in the middle - 102 m - and there was a lot of wind and fog that could make the construction difficult.
In 1916 San Francisco's city engineer asked other engineers to propose ideas for a bridge. One man, Joseph Strauss, designed a very cheap bridge - only $17 million, but many thought it was ugly. Local authorities asked him to change the design and to work with other experts. He accepted. He and other experts, especially Irving Morrow, an architect designed the bridge again, this time as a suspension bridge. A suspension bridge has tall towers that hold long cables, and the cables hold up or "suspend" the bridge.
The bridge is called the Golden Gate Bridge because it crosses the Golden Gate Strait, the area of water between the San Francisco peninsula and the Marin County peninsula.
In 1930 people in San Francisco and Marin County agreed that the local governments could sell bonds to raise money for the bridge. The new bridge was going to cost $30.1 million. But it was difficult for the governments to sell the bonds at the time because of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Finally the Bank of America, which was based in San Francisco, agreed to buy all the bonds to help the local economy.
Construction began on January 5, 1933 and was finished in April 1937. During the construction eleven men died, so the builders put a net under the bridge for the safety of the builders. Nineteen men were saved by the net.
When they finished the bridge, they painted it with a reddish-orange sealant, a type of paint that protects the bridge from water and humidity. People liked the color because it looked good with the bridge's surroundings and it was easy to see in the fog, so the bridge was officially painted with the color, called International Orange.
People can cross the bridge in cars or motorcycles any time. During daylight hours, they can cross by bicycle or on foot. They can not cross the bridge on roller skates, skateboards or mopeds.
When the bridge opened, drivers had to pay 50 cents to cross the bridge in either direction. Today, when drivers go north on the bridge (leaving San Francisco) they do not have to pay, but starting on September 2, 2008, when they go south (entering San Francisco), they have to pay $6 if they pay cash or $5 if they buy a Fastrak pass.
People often jump off the bridge to commit suicide (kill themselves). They fall 75 meters and most of them die when they hit the water. Nobody knows how many people have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.
- "Golden Gate Transportation District". Goldengate.org. http://www.goldengate.org/. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- Golden Gate Bridge in the Structurae database
- Denton, Harry et al. (2004) "Lonely Planet San Francisco" Lonely Planet, United States. 352 pp. ISBN 1-74104-154-6
- http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/saferesr/trafdata/truck2006final.pdf Annual Average Daily Truck Traffic on the California State Highway System, 2006, p.169
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