This report discusses the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, including the ferry services that preceded it (and resumed years later), when the bridge was built and opened, and the reason it was so named. It also provides some technical details of its construction.
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History of the Ferry Service
Long before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, the only way for members of the public to cross San Francisco Bay was by ferries, which from 1850 provided a service between San Francisco and Oakland (“ History of Golden Gate Ferry Service”, 2012). Then, according to the same article, a ferry service was started between Sausalito in Marin County and San Francisco in 1868 using The Princess, a small steamer. That route crossed the Golden Gate Strait, the Pacific entrance to San Francisco.
According to “ Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Gate Bridge (2012), the strait was given that name around the year 1846, by a Captain in the U. S. Army named John Fremont. Hence, when the bridge was later constructed, the Golden Gate name was used for the bridge, too.
When the bridge was built and opened, the “ History of Golden Gate Ferry Service” article claimed that demand for the ferry services declined until the service was terminated in 1941, leaving the recently-constructed bridge as the only way to make the crossing between San Francisco and Marin County. However, traffic volumes using the bridge increased over the years, until in August 1970 a new ferry service began between Sausalito and San Francisco, coordinated with bus facilities at either end of the crossing, relieving the now congested bridge crossing. By 2008, the article reported, the efficient passenger ferry service offered a cost-effective alternative choice for passengers, avoiding long delays in crossing the bridge by car at peak times.
History of the Golden Gate Bridge
According to “ Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Gate Bridge (2012), the bridge was constructed in four years beginning in January 1933 and was opened to traffic on 28 May 1937. Pedestrians were allowed to cross it the day before. Eleven workers died during its construction, all but one of them killed on a single day in February 1937 in a single accident. The same article gave a few facts and figures about the bridge: it is a steel suspension bridge with a 4, 200 long main span; it is painted in a color called “ international orange” which is said to have been chosen to blend with the colors of adjacent land masses and to be more visible in the fog that often prevails in that area; Up to May 2012, the number of vehicles having crossed the bridge since it opened reached a staggering 1, 970, 331, 117.
Golden Gate Bridge Constructional Details
“ Bridge Design and Construction Statistics” (2012) provides some technical details about the Golden Gate bridge, including that its overall length is 1. 7 miles and it is 90 feet wide. It has three spans in total, of which the center or main span is 4, 200 feet long. The bridge roadway stands at approximately 220 feet above the high water level, providing clearance for ships to pass beneath. Including all of its supports, etc, the bridge weighs almost 900, 000 tons, although that weight was reduced by circa 12, 300 tons in 1986 when the deck was replaced with one of a lighter construction. Dependent on ambient temperature, the bridge can deflect up or down by a total amount of 16 feet. The bridge has two main towers that support the huge cables from which the roadway is suspended. The tops of those towers are around 746 feet above the water, or 500 feet above the bridge roadway. Each of the two huge cables that support the roadway is approximately 36 inches in diameter and 7, 650 feet long, and is comprised of over 27, 000 individual wires made of galvanized carbon steel. The cables rest on top of the towers and at each end are securely anchored in massive concrete anchor points.
“ Bridge Design and Construction Statistics.” (2012). Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District. Retrieved from http://goldengatebridge. org/research/factsGGBDesign. php
“ Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Gate Bridge.” (2012). Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District. Retrieved from http://goldengatebridge. org/research/facts. php#Name
“ History of Golden Gate Ferry Service.” (2012). Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District. Retrieved from http://goldengateferry. org/researchlibrary/history. php