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The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

June 30th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening into the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and a portion of the south-facing Marin County headlands near the small bayside town of Sausalito, and is located at 37°49′ N 122°29′ W. The bridge is 1.22 miles (1970 m] long, the distance between the towers ("main span") is 4200 feet (1280 m), and their height is 746 feet (230 m) above the water.

The bridge was the brainchild of Joseph Strauss, an engineer responsible for over 400 drawbridges, though they were far smaller than this project and mostly inland. Strauss spent over a decade drumming up support in Northern California. Strauss's initial proposal for this location was not at all pretty[1], being comprised of a massive cantilever on each side connected with a central suspension segment. Other key figures in the bridge's construction include architect Irving Morrow, responsible for the Art Deco touches and the choice of color, and engineer Charles Alton Ellis and bridge designer Leon Moisseiff, who collaborated on the complicated mathematics.

The construction of the bridge began on January 5, 1933 under the aegis of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), a program instigated by Franklin D. Roosevelt to create public works through federal funds and alleviate the effects of the Great Depression. Strauss, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati placed a brick from his alma mater's demolished McMicken Hall in the south anchorage before the cement was poured. The bridge was completed in April 1937 and opened to pedestrians on May 27 of that year. The next day, President Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC signaling the start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge. The cost to build it was $27 million. A unique aspect of the construction of this bridge was that a safety net was set up beneath it, significantly reducing the number of deaths that were typical for a construction project such as this in the early 1900s. Approximately 11 men were killed from falls during construction, and approximately 19 men were saved by the safety net. Most of the deaths occurred near completion when the net itself failed under the stress of a scaffold fall. Workers whose lives were saved by the safety nets became proud members of the (informal) Halfway to Hell Club.

The center span was the longest among suspension bridges until 1964 when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was erected between the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City. The Golden Gate Bridge also had the world's tallest suspension towers at the time of construction, and retained that record until more recently. In 1957, Michigan's Mackinac Bridge surpassed the Golden Gate Bridge's length between anchorages to become the world's longest suspension bridge in total length. The longest center suspension span in the world is currently the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan.

As the only road to exit San Francisco to the north, the bridge is part of both United States Highway 101 and California State Route 1. The bridge has six total lanes of vehicle traffic, and walkways on both sides of the bridge. The median markers between the lanes are moved to conform to traffic patterns. On weekday mornings, traffic flows mostly southbound into the city, so four of the six lanes run southbound. Conversely, on weekday afternoons, four lanes run northbound. While there has been much demand and discussion concerning the installation of a movable barrier, no satisfactory solution has been committed to by the authorities. Usually, the eastern walkway is for pedestrians only, and the western walkway is for bicyclists only, although this can change during times of construction. Both walkways are closed to pedestrian traffic during the evening and at night.

On September 1, 2002, the toll for Southbound motor vehicles was raised from $3.00 to $5.00. Northbound motor vehicle traffic, cycling, and pedestrian traffic remain toll free.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Send by: Lukasz

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