The Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel that is located in the west coast of the United States, spanning a length of about 1.7 miles connecting the city of San Francisco to the county of Marin both of which are in the state of California. The bridge gets its name from the Golden Gate strait, a water body that links the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay, where it is situated. Tourist literature such as the Frommer's travel guide dramatically praises the bridge's beauty declaring that it is one of the most often photographed structures in the world. Its impressive design has earned it a place among the wonders of the modern world.
History of the Golden Gate Bridge
Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, people had to rely on boats to cross the strait which led to the construction of a thriving ferry business. Due to San Francisco's importance, some influential people wanted to construct a bridge to reduce the city's reliance on ferries. Most experts were opposed to the construction of such a bridge due to the strong currents in the strait that would hinder its development. Some of the initial projections for the bridge were exceptionally expensive with one group of engineers estimating that it would cost $100,000,000. Joseph Strauss proposed a cheaper design that would cost $17,000,000 which earned the approval of local authorities. Construction of the bridge began in January 1933 and lasted until April 1937. It was opened roughly a month after its completion with leaders such as Angelo Rossi among those who attended the festivities which lasted for approximately a week.
Design of the Bridge
The lead engineer on the project was Joseph Strauss although due to his inexperience with some engineering techniques such as cable suspension design, other experts were called in to assist him. The initial design he had proposed was not aesthetically pleasing which lead to Irving Morrow, Charles Alton Ellis, and Leon Moisseiff contributing to the project. One of the most distinctive features of the bridge is that it makes use of Leon Moisseiff's deflection theory that significantly reduced the stress on the bridge. The bridge's color was an object of contention as the US Navy wanted it to be painted black and yellow to enhance visibility while the designers preferred a color that would be more visually pleasing.
Controversies During Construction
Disagreements arose because John Strauss wanted to get all the credit for the design even though others did much of the work. In his quest for fame, he fired Charles Alton and chose Clifford Paine as a replacement. Strauss would further downplay his colleagues' contribution which ensured that he received much of the credit. The local government later recognized the contribution of Charles Alton and others who did the bulk of the work.
Economic Impact of the Bridge
The bridge is of great economic significance as it attracts vast numbers of tourists each year. Locals have taken advantage of a large number of tourists in the area to set up several businesses in the area such as cafes and gift shops. The bridge also earns the local government revenue as vehicles passing along the bridge have to pay a toll fee.