Golden Gate Bridge - Length, Facts and Height

Golden Gate Bridge - Length, Facts and Height


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The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California. It spans almost two miles across the Golden Gate, the narrow strait where San Francisco Bay opens to meet the Pacific Ocean. The dream of connecting San Francisco to its northern neighbors became a reality when construction commenced in 1933. Given the chance for steady employment amid the Great Depression, construction crews braved treacherous conditions as the roadway and towers took shape over open water. The Golden Gate Bridge, opened to the public in 1937, has endured as a picture-perfect landmark and an engineering marvel.

Joseph Strauss

Following decades of public calls to connect the burgeoning metropolis of San Francisco to its neighbors across the mile-wide Golden Gate, city engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy in 1919 was charged with finding someone capable of constructing a bridge at a reasonable cost.

The job went to a Chicago-based engineer named Joseph Strauss, a drawbridge builder who believed he could complete the grand-scale project for a modest $25 to $30 million. After submitting his sketches for a cantilever-suspension hybrid span in June 1921, Strauss set about convincing the communities on the northern end of the strait that the bridge would be to their benefit.

The project gained momentum in May 1923 when the state legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act of California for the purpose of planning, designing and financing construction. By August 1925, the people of Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte and parts of Napa and Mendocino counties had agreed to join the district and offer their homes and businesses as collateral for securing funds.

International Orange

Despite the economic promises touted by its supporters, the project met fierce resistance from an array of business and civic leaders.

Not only would the bridge impede the shipping industry and mar the bay’s natural beauty, they argued, it wouldn’t survive a temblor like the San Francisco Earthquake that crippled the city in 1906. Years of litigation followed as opponents sought to block the formation of the district.

Meanwhile the bridge’s famed design took shape through the efforts of Strauss’s talented team. Leon S. Moisseiff submitted a plan that scrapped the original hybrid design in favor of a suspension span capable of moving more than two feet laterally to withstand strong winds.

Irving F. Morrow conceptualized the art deco towers, and later decided on a paint color he dubbed “International Orange.” Charles Ellis worked out the complex engineering equations as the primary structural designer, though he was fired before construction began and didn’t receive proper credit until many years later.

Amadeo Giannini

In November 1930, a measure passed to allow for the issuance of $35 million in bonds to pay for the project. However, the Bridge and Highway District struggled to find a financial backer amid the difficulties of the Great Depression, a problem exacerbated by years of expensive legal proceedings.

Desperate, Strauss personally sought help from Bank of America President Amadeo Giannini, who provided a crucial boost by agreeing to buy $6 million in bonds in 1932.

Construction commenced on January 5, 1933, with the excavation of 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt to establish the bridge’s 12-story-tall anchorages. The crew consisted of virtually anyone capable of withstanding the physical rigors of the job, as out-of-work cab drivers, farmers, clerks lined up for the chance to earn steady wages as ironworkers and cement mixers.

The attempt to build what would be the first bridge support in the open ocean proved an immense challenge. As a 1,100-foot trestle extended off the San Francisco side, divers plunged to depths of 90 feet through strong currents to blast away rock and remove detonation debris.

The trestle was damaged when it was struck by a ship in August 1933 and again amid a powerful storm late in the year, setting construction back five months.

John A. Roebling’s Sons

When the towers were completed in June 1935, the New Jersey-based John A. Roebling’s Sons Company was tapped to handle the on-site construction of the suspension cables.

The Roebling engineers, who had also worked on the Brooklyn Bridge, had mastered a technique in which individual steel wires were banded together in spools and carried across the length of the bridge on spinning wheels.

Given a year to complete the task, they instead finished in just over six months, having spun more than 25,000 individual wires into each 7,650-foot cable.

Halfway to Hell Club

Despite the ongoing hazardous conditions faced by the crew, the construction produced just one casualty through four years. A supporting net had saved 19 workers from plunging into the strait, the survivors said to be members of the “Halfway to Hell Club.”

However, the near-spotless safety record was blemished when a scaffold fell and tore through the net in February 1937, resulting in the deaths of 10 workers.

The roadway was completed on April 19, 1937, and the bridge officially opened to pedestrians on May 27 of that year. As part of the festivities, Strauss dedicated a poem titled “A Mighty Task Is Done.”

The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that the bridge was open to cars and the rest of the world via White House telegraph.

How Long Is the Golden Gate Bridge?

A marvel of modern engineering, the Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and 90 feet wide. Its 4,200-foot main span between the two towers was the longest for a suspension bridge until 1981, while its 746-foot towers made it the tallest bridge of any type until 1993.

The Golden Gate Bridge withstood the destructive Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, and was closed to traffic only three times in its first 75 years due to weather conditions.

Believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world, this landmark was named one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994.


Golden Gate Bridge Height and Length

Golden Gate Bridge height is 227.4 m (746.06 ft).

  • Meters – 227.4 m
  • Feet – 746.063 ft
  • Inches – 8952.756 in
  • Kilometers – 0.2274 km
  • Miles – 0.1412998 mi

Golden Gate Bridge length is 2737.4 m (8980.97 ft).

  • Meters – 2737.4 m
  • Feet – 8980.971 ft
  • Inches – 107771.7 in
  • Kilometers – 2.7374 km
  • Miles – 1.700942 mi

Design Considerations of The Golden Gate Bridge

The design of a suspension bridge is a com

plicated work that needs considerable mathematical proficiency and engineering capability. The design has multiple aspects that require extensive deliberations since all materials deform on the application of loads. It is essential to determine the deck movement range at numerous locations caused due to the varying load conditions. The different load conditions are heavy traffic, traffic with intermittent stops and movements, and reduced or no traffic. The designer of this bridge deliberated in detail numerous engineering factors, including the deck movement due to its weight, environment temperature range, velocity of wind, deck sag between suspension cables, elongation of suspension cables, etc. It may be appreciated that the engineering technology prevalent in that era did not encompass these important features of bridge design. Still, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered to be an engineering wonder because of the precise engineering planning, design, and construction processes that were applied.


Traffic and Tolls FAQs

How many vehicles have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge?

As February 28, 2019, 2,241,603,474 vehicles have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (includes northbound and southbound) since opening to traffic on May 28, 1937.

When did the bridge experience its highest and lowest volumes of traffic?

LOWEST: On Monday, January 4, 1982, a devastating rainstorm struck the San Francisco Bay Area. Earth slides and flooding covered the highway and roads north of the Bridge. Two days later, on Wednesday, January 6, only 3,921 southbound vehicles crossed the Bridge. This compares to the average daily southbound count of 37,936 for January 1982.

HIGHEST: During the evening commute on October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake jarred the Bay Area with a force measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. The Golden Gate Bridge withstood, undamaged, the most devastating quake to strike the Bay Area since 1906. During this time of myriad traffic problems, extra bus and ferry trips were added to help smooth the commute as a flood of 30,000 to 40,000 drivers were diverted from the East Bay to Highway 101 and the Golden Gate Bridge due to the failure of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. On October 27, 1989, an all-time record of 162,414 vehicles crossed the Bridge north and southbound.

Why does the Golden Gate Bridge use reversible lanes?

Reversible lanes were inaugurated on the Bridge on October 29, 1963. Their use greatly aids the flow of traffic during the heavy morning and evening commute hours and during weekend tourist periods.

The Bridge has a total of six lanes with northbound and southbound lanes separated by a moveable median barrier. At any given time, the lane configuration may be adjusted using a transfer machine (aka "zipper truck"). The barrier is a one-foot wide, 32-inch high concrete and steel barrier that provides a safe division of traffic and helps eliminate head-on collisions. This barrier replaced the bright yellow lane markers that were used to separate opposing traffic lanes.

When was one-way toll collection instituted on the Bridge?

On Saturday, October 19, 1968, the Golden Gate Bridge became the first major bridge in the world to offer one-way toll collection. The system proved so successful it has since been instituted on many bridges throughout the world.

What is carpool policy and what are eligibility requirements on the Bridge?

Since April 1976, the Golden Gate Bridge has offered a discount toll to two-axle vehicles with three or more occupants ("carpools"), motorcycles, and buses during peak commute traffic hours. For current carpool rates, hours, policies, and eligibility requirements, visit our Toll Rates page.

Was a pedestrian fee ever charged to access the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks?

From May 1937 to December 1970, a pedestrian toll (sidewalk fee) was charged and collected using a coin turnstile. By Board of Director Resolution No. 7159, authorized on December 15, 1970, the pedestrian toll was eliminated.

When did FasTrak become available on the Golden Gate Bridge?

The FasTrak electronic toll collection system launched to the public on the Golden Gate Bridge in July 2000.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Golden Gate Bridge


Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Plaques and Signage
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of photos that show the bridge plaque, interpretive signage, and the Strauss statue. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Crossing The Bridge, Northbound
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of photos taken with a wide angle GoPro camera showing the experiance of driving over the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Plaques and Signage
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of photos that show the bridge plaque, interpretive signage, and the Strauss statue. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Crossing The Bridge, Northbound
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of photos taken with a wide angle GoPro camera showing the experiance of driving over the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

CarCam: Northbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

CarCam: Southbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

Overview: Public Photograph Compilation (PPC)
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Details: Public Photograph Compilation (PPC)
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Overview: Public Photograph Compilation (PPC)
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Details: Public Photograph Compilation (PPC)
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Golden Gate Bridge - Length, Facts and Height - HISTORY

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The Golden Gate Bridge opened to to pedestrians on 27 May 1937 and vehicular traffic the next day.

What is the Golden Gate Bridge?

The Golden Gate Bridge is a 1.7 mile-long (8,981 feet or 2,737 m) suspension bridge in California. It spans the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean.


At the time it opened, the Golden Gate bridge was one of the world's largest single-span suspension bridges (The longest from 1937 until 1964).

  • Total length: Including approaches, 1.7 miles (8,981 feet or 2,737 m)
  • Middle span: 4,200 feet (1,966 m).
  • Width: 90 feet (27 m)
  • Clearance above the high water (average): 220 feet (67 m)
  • 746 feet (227 m) above the water
  • 500 feet (152 m) above the roadway
  • Each leg is 33 x 54 feet (10 x 16 m)

Since 1998, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge has been the world's largest single-span suspension bridge.It has six lanes and links the island of Awaji and the mainland city of Kobe, a distance of four miles. The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge holds three records: it is the longest, tallest, and most expensive suspension bridge ever built.

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Construction

When bridges requiring piers are built over a body of water, foundations are made by sinking caissons into the riverbed and filling them with concrete. Caissons are large boxes or cylinders that have been made from wood, metal, or concrete. In the case of suspension bridges, towers are built atop the caissons. The early suspension-bridge towers were stone, but now they are either steel or concrete. Next, the anchorages are built on both ends, usually of reinforced concrete with embedded steel eyebars to which the cables will be fastened. An eyebar is a length of metal with a hole (or “eye”) at the ends. Cables for some of the first suspension bridges were made of linked wrought-iron eyebars now, however, cables are generally made of thousands of steel wires spun together at the construction site. Spinning is done by rope pulleys that carry each wire across the top of the towers to the opposite anchorage and back. The wires are then bundled and covered to prevent corrosion. When the cables are complete, suspenders are hung, and finally the deck is erected—usually by floating deck sections out on ships, hoisting them with cranes, and securing them to the suspenders.


Technical Description on the Golden Gate Bridge

Figure 1.The Golden Gate Bridge stretches across the golden strait

Spanning almost two miles across the narrow strait where the San Francisco Bay opens to meet the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate bridge hovers over the Golden Gate. It is one of California’s most visited sites and connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California. It made its grand opening in the year 1937 after taking 4 years to build and as seen in figure 1, remains an important part of California’s transportation system to this day. The bridge makes room “for more than 100,000 cars crossing daily, as well as pedestrians, bikers and people riding the bridge’s ferries and buses (CNN, 2018).” Initially, there was great controversy about the building of this bridge as the expected cost was about $100 million and the span needed to build the bridge was much greater than any suspension bridge built before. Impressive in its simplicity and modern in its concept, the golden gate bridge was a challenge to build not because it had to be built over a body of water, but because the body of water was like none other before: an arm of the ocean (Airboyd, 2012).

Length, Width, Height, Weight

Figure 2. The length of the suspended bridge between the towers is 4,200 ft http://goldengate.org/exhibits/facts-and-figures-about-the-bridge.php

When the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed in 1937, it was declared to be the bridge with the longest bridge span and the tallest towers at the time. There was a lot of thought and effort that went into the engineering of the Golden Gate bridge. The total length of the bridge, including the ends of the bridges, call the abutments, is 1.7 miles or 8,981 ft (goldengatebridge.org). If the distance to the Toll Plaza is added, then it becomes 9,150 ft or 1.73 miles(goldengatebridge.org). The length of the suspension spans, which includes the main and side spans, is 1.2 miles while the length of the suspended structure alone, located between the towers, is 4,200 ft as can be seen in figure 2. The width of the bridge is 90 ft, which includes the width of the roadways (62 ft) and the width of the sidewalks (10 ft) (goldengatebridge.org).

Anchorage Stats, Tower Stats, and Cable Stats


Figure 3. All parts of the bridge are labeled for reference


10 Interesting Golden Gate Bridge Facts For Kids

The median markers between the lanes on the bridge are moveable to conform to traffic patterns. On weekday mornings, traffic flows mostly southbound into the city, so four of the six lanes run southbound. Likewise, on weekday afternoons, four lanes run northbound. The eastern walkway is for pedestrians and bicycles during the weekdays and during daylight hours only, and the western walkway is open to bicyclists on weekday afternoons, weekends, and holidays.


Watch the video: What Do You Know About the Golden Gate Bridge?


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