Thursday, May 10, 2007

Golden Gate Bridge tidbits

The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting article by Carl Nolte on the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge (May 27).
  • The celebration of its 50th anniversary in 1987 (its first scheduled closing to vehicular traffic in 50 years) drew so many people—more than 800,000 by some estimates—that there was a visible deflection of two of the main spans, the 4,200-foot-long main span between the towers and the span between the south tower and the San Francisco anchorage. The celebration had produced the heaviest load that the bridge had experienced to date. Planners hadn't realized that concentrated foot traffic would be significantly heavier than concentrated vehicular traffic.
  • The Report of the Chief Engineer, Volume II went on sale today in a limited edition (1,000 copies only).
    If $70 exceeds your interest in this wonderful engineering and artistic masterpiece, I can also recommend Spanning the Gate, the definitive work on the construction of the bridge, including many stunning photos. Available on the same site for $19.95, or from Amazon for$15.56. [1]
  • Charles A. Ellis, a University of Illinois professor, did much of technical and theoretical work on which the bridge design was based. However, because of a dispute with Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss, he was fired before construction began. Until last Wednesday he got none of the public credit. His name was not even mentioned in any of the dedication plaques on the bridge.
[1] No, I don't get a commission.



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