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The Golden Gate Bridge

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

I’ve lived in the beautiful northern California Bay area and have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge many times, and it has been a wonderful experience every time. How many times have you crossed the Golden Gate Bridge? I thought I would give you a little history of this iconic suspension bridge in our backyard.

Concept and Design:

  • The idea for a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait was first proposed in the late 19th century.

  • The difficult task of constructing a bridge in the treacherous waters was considered a significant engineering challenge. After several failed attempts and feasibility studies, a design competition was held in 1930 to select the bridge's design. The winning design was submitted by engineer Joseph Strauss, who collaborated with architect Irving Morrow.


  • Construction began on January 5, 1933. The project faced numerous challenges, including strong tides, foggy weather, and dangerous underwater currents.

  • The bridge was built using the cantilever-suspension hybrid design, with two main towers and a suspension system.

  • The construction employed approximately 10,000 workers.

  • During the construction, 11 men lost their lives. Several fell through the safety net.

Opening and Inauguration:

  • It took over four years to complete and opened to the public on May 27, 1937.

  • The bridge's opening ceremony was attended by around 200,000 people who crossed the bridge on foot. The event included a 19-gun salute, a parade, and the cutting of a chain by Strauss to symbolize the completion of the bridge.

Engineering Marvel:

  • The Golden Gate Bridge quickly became an engineering marvel and an iconic symbol of San Francisco. It spans approximately 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) across the Golden Gate Strait. At the time of its completion, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world.


  • During the initial priming of the bridge, Irving Morrow saw the orange primer coat and collaborated with Strauss to paint the final coat "International Orange", instead of gray or black. The distinctive hue was chosen to increase the bridge's visibility in foggy conditions and to stand out against the coastal landscape, enhancing the bridge's overall aesthetic appeal.

  • It has become synonymous with the bridge's identity and is recognized worldwide.

Preservation and Upgrades:

  • Over the years, the bridge has undergone several renovations and seismic retrofitting projects to ensure its structural integrity and safety.

  • On March 27, 2013, electronic toll collection was installed.

  • In 2015 a movable median barrier, to improve traffic flow, was added.

Other Facts

  • The toll collection system was put in place to help cover the costs of construction and maintenance of the bridge. Initially, the toll for vehicles was 50 cents per crossing, while pedestrians were charged 5 cents. Over the years, the toll rates have steadily increased to accommodate the bridge's ongoing maintenance and operational expenses.

  • Now, Fast-track toll rate for 2-axel vehicles and motorcycles is $8.75 with invoice toll costing $9.00. A far cry from 86 years ago.

Iconic Landmark:

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge


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