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Building the Golden Gate Bridge | Documentary Film | 1930s

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Published on Aug 9, 2015

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Great documentary film from 1930s that shows how the bridge was built, piece by piece, girder by girder across the Golden Gate. Stock footage of completed bridge; informative narration; explanative illustrations illuminate bridges dimensions and other structural aspects of design.

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The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, bridging both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Frommers travel guide considers the Golden Gate Bridge "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world". It opened in 1937 and was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge main spanin the world, at 4,200 feet (1,300 m).

Before the bridge was built, the only practical short route between San Francisco and what is now Marin County was by boat across a section of San Francisco Bay. Ferry service began as early as 1820, with regularly scheduled service beginning in the 1840s for purposes of transporting water to San Francisco.

Building of the Golden Gate Bridge:
Many experts said that a bridge could not be built across the 6,700 ft (2,042 m) strait, which had strong, swirling tides and currents, with water 372 ft (113 m) deep at the center of the channel, and frequent strong winds. Experts said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent construction and operation.

The construction began on January 5, 1933. The project cost more than $35 million, completing ahead of schedule and under budget. The Golden Gate Bridge construction project was carried out by the McClintic-Marshall Construction Co., a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. The chief engineer in charge of overall design and construction of the bridge project was Joseph Strauss. However, because he had little understanding or experience with cable-suspension designs, responsibility for much of the engineering and architecture fell on other experts. The project was finished and the bridge was opened on May 27, 1937.

Specifications:
Until 1964, the Golden Gate Bridge had the longest suspension bridge main span in the world, at 4,200 feet (1,300 m). Since 1964 its main span length has been surpassed by ten bridges; it now has the second-longest main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. Total length of the Golden Gate Bridge from abutment to abutment is 8,981 feet (2,737 m). The Golden Gate Bridge's clearance above high water averages 220 feet (67 m) while its towers, at 746 feet (227 m) above the water, were the world's tallest on a suspension bridge until 1998 when bridges in Denmark and Japan were completed.

Structure:
The weight of the roadway is hung from two cables that pass through the two main towers and are fixed in concrete at each end. Each cable is made of 27,572 strands of wire. There are 80,000 miles (130,000 km) of wire in the main cables. The bridge has approximately 1,200,000 total rivets.

Building the Golden Gate Bridge | Documentary Film | 1930s

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