THE GOLDEN GATE AND BAY BRIDGES
San Francisco’s two famous bridges are engineering and aesthetic triumphs. Perhaps
most impressive of all is that they were built simultaneously at the lowest point
of the Great Depression.
THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
IDENTIFYING FEATURES: Red (actually, “International Orange”) in color. Two towers,
with box-shaped cross supports
CONNECTS: San Francisco to Marin County
CONSTRUCTION STARTED: 1933
ENGINEER IN CHARGE: Joseph B. Strauss
WORKERS KILLED DURING CONSTRUCTION: 11
COST: $35,000,000 in 1930s dollars
TRAFFIC: Over 100,000 vehicles daily
FACT: Well over 1,000 people have committed suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate
THE BAY BRIDGE (western and eastern spans)
CONNECTS: San Franciso to Yerba Buena Island to Oakland
ENGINEER IN CHARGE: Charles H. Purcell
WORKERS KILLED DURING CONSTRUCTION: 27
COST: $70,000,000 in 1930s dollars
TRAFFIC: Over 280,000 vehicles daily
FACT: 18% of all steel manufactured in the USA during 1933 went into the Bay Bridge
IDENTIFYING FEATURES: Silver-gray in color. Four towers, with X-shaped cross supports
ORIGINAL EASTERN SPAN
After it partially collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, it was repaired
and continued to be used until the new eastern span opened in 2013.
REPLACEMENT EASTERN SPAN
The new eastern span (built alongside the old span) is a self-anchored suspension
bridge that cost over six billion dollars. It opened in 2013, a mere 24 years after
the original span collapsed.
Here are two photos of the new span, taken by San Francisco photographer Bill Taylor
(and here is a link to more of his photos).
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Text and photographs (excluding those in public domain) © 2003-2012 by Mike Humbert.