The Golden Gate Bridge is an achievement of civil engineering. When it opened great acclaim on May 27, 1937, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge, and still stands as an enduring symbol of the power of resilience and ingenuity.,
Against the Odds
The builders of the Golden Gate Bridge faced all sorts of difficulties. To be sure, working at the height of the Great Depression (1933-1937) posed many financial challenges. But in addition, the strait between the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Headlands has frequent storms, raging winds and fogs that made the construction process extremely trying.
Other challenges included blasting rock under deep water to plant earthquake-proof foundations and changing the design originally produced by chief engineer Joseph Strauss because according to its critics, it looked like “an upside-down rat trap”. This accumulation of disadvantages and setbacks led to the Golden Gate Bridge being called “The bridge that couldn’t be built.”
The Golden Gate Bridge, a Feat of Project Management
And yet, all challenges notwithstanding, the Golden Gate was inaugurated in 1937, within budget and ahead of schedule. A feat of project management.
One of the most interesting aspects of the construction was a movable safety net. This innovation put in place by Strauss saved the lives of 19 men in total. Unfortunately on February 17, 1937, just three months before the opening, the net failed when it gave way under the weight of a scaffolding . Of the 13 men who were on the scaffolding, one was able to jump to safety, two survived the fall into the water and 10 died. Another worker died in a separate incident, taking the total number of deaths to 11. This figure was remarkably low figure for its time.
One of the many controversies surrounding the bridge was its color. Everybody seemed to have an opinion. For safety reasons, the military and the navy wanted the bridge covered in stripes, either red and white (Army Air Corps) or black and yellow (Navy).
In the end, consulting architect Irving F. Murrow had the last word. Murrow realized that the coat of orange primer (now called “International Orange”) that had been applied by the manufacturers of the steel was In fact ideal. It allowed the ships to see the bridge from a distance and it blended with the nearby hills, contrasting beautifully with the ocean and sky.
Murrow’s intuition proved brilliant: In addition to being a marvel of engineering, the Golden Gate Bridge is also visually stunning. As a matter of fact, according to many, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed bridge in the world. An unusual but well-deserved badge of honor for a work of engineering design.
At Darnell Technical Services we have the engineering design expertise to always deliver optimal results. Contact us today by telephone (714-285-0082, 702-945-2899) or through our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and learn more about all the technical instruments and materials we put at your disposal.