A technical masterpiece that can only be described in the superlative terms, the golden gate bridge marks the beginning of the San Francisco bay. The construction of this suspended structure took four years when the work started in 1933 under the engineer Joseph Strauss. The entire idea was to connect San Francisco with martin country across the 5000ft wide strait which links the pacific and the San Francisco bay.
In the early 1920s the only way to get across the San Francisco bay was a ferry and it was usually found clogged with them which hindered smooth transport. This entire scenario was convincing enough for Strauss to build a bridge across the golden gate. Strauss, apart from the engineering challenges regarding the 60 mile per hour wind speed and strong ocean currents that swept through a rugged canyon below the surface, had to face some more setbacks as well. There was enormous opposition from the local communities for their own selfish constructs, in the middle of this great depression, there was scarcity of funds too. But things apart Strauss maintained the persistence and there was a fund raising when san Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved $35 million in bonds to come up with the connector. Building a bridge across this gate was an instance of modern engineering.
It was beyond the imaginations to visualise the connector. Its total length is 8,981ft or 2,737 m and the main span between the two huge towers is about 4,200 ft. or 1,280 meters long, which makes the Golden Gate Bridge the world’s largest suspension bridge. Almost 820 feet or 250 meters tall are the two beautiful art deco towers, and the road, six lanes and 90 feet ( 27m) wide is an amazing 220 feet above the sea level.
The bridge is supported by large cables, anchored in a very large number of bars locked into steady blocks with a pulling capacity of 25 million kg. The two cables have an approximate length of 2,332 meters and a diameter of 90 cm, woven from 27,572 threads of steel which make it a total length that is equals to three times the circumference of our earth.
In spite of a sidewalk being present along the bridge, it’s quite daring to cross the bridge on foot. Apart from being 3 kilometres long, it’s a 220 feet above the waves. It just sways up to 8 metres in extreme circumstances. Although this makes it strong against the external barriers, crossing the bridge on foot can be rather a little unpleasant. The views are however amazing.
There is a bus stop right at the start of the bridge. Located at the Presidion Park, the bridge can easily be reached by bus or car. The most pleasant way however is by walking either from the Marina District to the east or from Baker Beach to the west of the bridge, and especially the route along the east is very much popular.
Apart from its beauty, the golden gate bridge has many current issues to be dealt with. The bonds that were initially raised for the bridge construction were retired in the 70s with $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest raised entirely from tolls. In an effort to save $19.2 million over the coming 10 years, the Golden Gate District voted in to eliminate all toll takers by 2012 and strictly use open road tolling only .The cost savings have been revised to $19 million over an eight-year period.
In March 2008 the Golden Gate Bridge District board approved a resolution to start congestion pricing at the Bridge, charging a higher amount of tolls during peak hours when the crowd is maximum , but rising and falling on traffic level. The first results of the study, known as the Mobility, Access and Pricing Study (MAPS), showed that a congestion pricing program is feasible. In August 2008 transportation officials ended the congestion pricing program in favour of varying rates for metered parking along the route to the bridge including on Lombard Street and Van Ness Avenue
There have been many a suicide cases coming up against the golden gate bridge in the recent days.
One of the reasons to be cited is the magnetic appeal of the bridge. A jump from the golden gate can bring in more media and highlight your case than any other place can.Another reason to be sited is a jump from the connector results in a certain death without no mess. Easy access and parking lots on both sides of the bridge add up to its suicide rate. And most importantly, the railing is just 4 feet high, way too easy for anyone wanting to commit some serious suicide.
Now imagine that 10 people died in about a month. There will be public outrage, cooked up media stories and lawsuits — but not where the Golden Gate Bridge is concerned.
Despite of the many issues concerning the golden gate bridge, it has been the most salient site for many individuals who can just look upon and say, “Wow what a masterpiece.” Thus it is also a very elite structure built by man.