Eighty-three years ago today (August 15, 1929), Joseph Baermann Strauss was appointed Chief Engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge project. His original bridge design was for a cantilever-suspension hybrid, but by the time it went into production, that design changed to the full-suspension bridge we all know.
When the bridge opened in 1937 it was the world’s longest suspension span (4,200 ft) over a straight deemed too treacherous to bridge. The Golden Gate straight proved “bridgeable” after all and the bridge considered an engineering marvel. It links San Francisco with Marin County and is constantly bombarded with corrosive salt fog entering into San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
All of the suspension cables were replaced in the mid-1970’s, after discovering many of them were highly corroded. The original paint replaced only a few times is now a water-borne inorganic zinc based primer with an acrylic topcoat, in the same orange vermilion (international orange) it has always been. It was never painted gold, because its name is for the straight it spans, not its color.
Today the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan (main span of 6,532 feet) holds the record as the longest suspension bridge, but for we in the western portions of the United States, the Golden Gate will always be THE bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge has carried almost two billion cars across its suspended steel framework throughout the seventy-five years since it opened May 28, 1937. My last time across it was early in 2007, when this photo was made, but I will be back many more times. Happy 75th anniversary you glorious bridge!
For more information on the bridge, please visit: http://goldengatebridge.org/visitors/
Image registered with the U.S. Office of Copyright. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.