The Golden Gate: Building an Impossible Bridge | The B1M

The Golden Gate: Building an Impossible Bridge | The B1M

In the 1920’s, long before the technologies
and advancements of today’s construction industry, a scheme was conceived to build
an impossible bridge across the Golden Gate Strait in California. Today that structure remains one of the world’s
most famous landmarks, but to truly appreciate the magnitude of this achievement, you need
to understand the bridge’s story. The Golden Gate Strait is a mile-wide channel
between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Many of northern California’s waterways
and mountain slopes run into San Francisco Bay and out to the ocean through this channel,
generating fast flowing, treacherous water. Up to the 1920’s, before the existence of
the bridge, the only way to cross the channel without taking an extended drive around the
bay, was by ferry. With the rise of cars and the growth of San
Francisco during the boom years, some 2.5M car trips a year were being made across the
water by 1929. The congestion led to growing calls for a
bridge to be attempted across the gap. Many felt such a feat was impossible. The channel’s
width, combined with a depth of over 372 feet (which is about 113 meters), and the harsh
environmental conditions were seen by many as too great to overcome. The city turned to the renowned bridge engineer
Joseph Strauss to consider the feasibility of such a scheme. Strauss had a high pedigree
in developing bridges but was infamously difficult to work with and had a reputation for creating
unattractive designs. His first proposal was widely disliked, and
the city’s authorities insisted that he could only proceed if he accepted design input
from others. That input came from Leon Moisseiff, Irving Morrow and Charles Alton Ellis, and
led to the development of the bridge as we know it today. Despite public support, gaining approval for
the bridge was not easy. The Golden Gate Bridge District, a holding company established to
construct and operate the bridge, faced opposition on a number of fronts. First they had to contend with the Southern
Pacific Railroad Company who operated the highly profitable ferry service. The operator
filed over 2,300 legal disputes in an attempt to prevent the bridge proceeding. Then they had to deal with the US Department
of War (as it was then known). They feared enemy planes bombing the bridge and collapsing
it into the strait, trapping navy ships in the bay. They also voiced concerns about vessels
colliding with the bridge during rough weather or in San Francisco’s infamous fog. The
Department of War even pushed for the bridge to be painted black with yellow stripes to
make it highly visible. Eventually, opposition gave way and plans
to develop the bridge proceeded. But just as that milestone had been reached, the financial
crash and great depression hit. Government funding evaporated and the bridge’s future
looked very uncertain. Determined to boost their economy with all
the benefits that the bridge could bring, the city’s authorities took matters into
their own hands. To secure funding, they proposed a bond measure secured against the properties
of their citizens in San Francisco and in the counties north of the bay. In a remarkable step, this decision was put
to a referendum and those Californian’s decided to proceed with the bond, despite
the widespread concerns about the bridge’s feasibility. The bridge’s USD $35M cost
and associated the finance fees were only paid off in 1971. This historic vote combined with an initial
USD $5M credit line from the Founder of the Bank of America enabled construction works
to commence. For all the struggle that had gone in up to this point, the hardest days
still lay ahead. Construction began in January 1933 with the
erection of the bridge’s towers. Each of these structures weighs 22,000 tonnes and
stands 746 feet tall; about 227 meters above the waters of the bay. They carry the entire
weight of the bridge. The first step was to create footings and
erect the north tower on the banks of Marin County. Construction of the south tower out
in the waters of the strait was far more challenging. First, the team built a temporary pier 1100
feet (or 335 meters) out into the ocean. This pier was destroyed twice during the works,
once by a storm and again by a steamer ship travelling in the fog. At the end of the pier, pilot bombs were dropped
down shafts to break up the rock under the sea bed. Seagulls swarmed over this operation
as stunned fish floated to the surface. With the bedrock loosened, the area was dredged
before the first underwater concrete pour. The area was then pumped out, and the remainder
of the concrete was dry poured. Simultaneously, the concrete anchorages that
the suspension cables would connect to were cast on either bank. The scale of concrete
being poured across the bridge site led to an on-site mixing plant being established.
With the southern footing in place, the steel south tower was erected. The next step was to suspend cables from the
bridge, a process which began in the summer of 1935. The cables used are in fact formed
of many individual wires – 27,572 wires to be precise, totalling some 80,000 miles
in length – enough to circle the globe three times over. With shipping lanes closed, the first wires
were dragged across the bay by a coastguard vessel and lifted by crane into the 150 tonne
curved cable cradles on top of each tower. A mid-span working platform was then slid
across. With this successfully achieved, the painstaking process of bundling and draping
strands of wire back and forth across the bridge began. Those at the top of towers worked for months
in 45mph winds, 746 feet above the water. Despite the hostile environment, productivity
was high and in one record-breaking shift a gang managed to spin 1,000 miles of wire
across the strait. As each wire crossed they were tightened at
their opposing end, eventually forming the bridges two main cables, each 3 feet wide
in diameter. Wooden pallets were then hung beneath the cables creating a catwalk for
workers to weave, compact and bond the wires before painting them to create a watertight seal. With the main cables in place, smaller vertical
cables were dropped down towards the water. Steel trusses were then attached to them,
creating the deck for the concrete roadway to be poured on. Throughout the construction process, many
workers fell from the bridge. A fall to the water from the road deck was fatal in most
instances, as impact speeds reached 75mph. Thanks to a then-innovative safety net, many
construction workers who fell were saved from hitting the water and became members of what
was dubbed the “half-way to hell club”. Tragedy struck in February 1937 when a paving
machine fell into the net taking a number of workers with it. The net collapsed under
the weight of the machinery and 10 people were killed in the incident. As construction progressed, so too did the
debate around what colour the bridge should be painted. It was the bridge’s orange steel
primer that struck a chord with the public and suited the Department of War’s requirements
for visibility. This shade is actually known as “international orange”; a stand-out
tone that is also used on NASA astronauts and American footballs. Just four years after construction work started
and with 600,000 steel rivets in place, the bridge was complete. It opened on 27 May 1937
with a pedestrian walk over day, cars followed 24 hours later. Traffic was stopped and the walk over day
repeated for the bridge’s 50th Anniversary in 1987. However, serious overcrowding occurred
and the bridge deflected by 10 feet, flattening out under the weight of the crowd. This extremely
dangerous incident has led officials to commemorate anniversaries in different ways ever since. The bridge has been a huge cultural and economic
success since its completion. Over 2 billion cars have now crossed the deck and the Golden
Gate has gone on to become an American icon, synonymous with the city of San Francisco.
Such status has led to increased security, particularly in the post-9/11 era. Steps have also been taken to better protect
the bridge from seismic activity, especially as technology and research in this area has
moved on from 1930’s understanding. The bridge sits between the San Andreas and Hayward
fault lines and is at risk of high-magnitude quakes. Energy dissipating devices have been
subtlety retrofitted and the towers supporting the approach ramps have been completely replaced. Maintenance of the bridge is an ongoing task
and falls to a team of 110 full time personnel who look after every aspect. In maintenance
terms, the bridge is very similar to an offshore oil platform. It must contend with ocean climates
and the onslaught of the elements this entails. Re-painting is done by specific areas, based
on corrosion monitoring, whilst an onsite steel fabrication shop is able to create replacement
components. Larger scale refits have taken place, including
a complete replacement of the suspension ropes in the 1970s and a new lighter steel road
deck in the 80s. Now 80 years old, the bridge remains one of
the single most important elements of US road infrastructure. A key piece of cultural and
construction heritage and an iconic symbol of what human engineers are truly capable of. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

100 thoughts on “The Golden Gate: Building an Impossible Bridge | The B1M

  1. Weird to say but this bridge is sexy. Is also the best thing about SF if you are vistiing as a tourist. See the bridge but don't go to the city specially downtown. Belive me !

  2. Most Americans don't know that Lisbon, capital of Portugal, in Europe, has a similar bridge made by the same company. U can see here:

  3. Reminds me of summer trips in 1992 in 2nd grade

  4. Arabs invented the bridge, without is your people would be living in the dark ages!

  5. 000000000000000000 ******

  6. Instead of wasting $200 million on a useless net that's slows people from jumping use that money to fix up the bridge its needs it bad

  7. background music sounded from fifa mobile

  8. Half way to hell club,guys that fell into the net

  9. Marry me

  10. In 2019's money, this bridge would cost a whopping $3 billion

  11. The narrator's voice immediately reminds me of Prof. Geoffery Hinton!

  12. San Francisco city is nothing compared to the world's capital… NYC

  13. You know what's messed up about the crash, how the value of property rockets through the roof while wages stay low, even that said though today there are in fact over 14 million people considered to be millionaires on the planet.

  14. What should we call this giant orange bridge?
    How about The Golden Gate?

  15. This guy is so serious it’s just a bridge

  16. Not be long till the illuminati sacrifices this bridge….
    If only we knew the date….
    911 would be way too obvious.

  17. Is it just me or this guy sounds like Josh from Sidemen?!?

  18. Didn’t know Frank Lampard knew so much about the Golden Gate Bridge

  19. #GoldenGateBridge

  20. This is (in my opinion) my favorite bridge in the world. Is just so iconic and beautiful.

  21. Not even gold wtf, restart

  22. This is as heavy a British accent as it can get

  23. Wire ? Around the world? 3 times over ? Say whuuut 🤔

  24. Please make a video about the bridge in Lisbon!

  25. “It took 4 years to build the most famous bridge on Earth”

    It’s taken 5 years to build the Starbucks right down the street!

  26. Very impressive, even 80 years later.

  27. Will Smith brought me here

  28. The bridge is now rusting and in need of urgent maintenance while being neglected by the democratic government of California.

  29. Alien technology

  30. As a young kid in 1961 I used to sit on the shores of Alameda, CA (near NAS Alameda) and watch ships sail under the Golden Gate bridge. I used always wonder were they were going. Those were fun and simple days.

  31. And every apocalypse movie destroys it

  32. Each tower has an elevator from the pedestrian walkway to the
    top of the towers. Riding the elevator is amazing as it is an open maintenance elevator so as you go up you are looking at the reverse sides of the tower. It’s rust and wet steel structure is amazing. Once at the top you get out and climb a ladder to a hatch and then another and you come out onto the deck. The deck is very wide and the views are incredible! Been lucky enough to go up five times. Not open to the public I might add also. Love this bridge!

  33. Even back then lobbyists existed and tried to derail this marvelous undertaking smh…and since then they have got even powerful and that’s why we can’t have things like high speed rail in this country. American ingenuity is slowly dying and the rest of the world is just building wonders in airports, bridges, skyscrapers, and even cheaper healthcare! The only thing we’re good at than the rest of the world is killing each other and letting politicians backed by lobbyists divide us for their own interests! We’re so screwed Smh

  34. Nice documentary….

  35. My lord I would be so scared to drive on this bridge…i would need to wear a life jacket and I would have to keep my window rolled down 😂😂

  36. 7:45 why do people want to be so close to each other, humans are an invasive species

  37. Why is a British guy narrating US history?

  38. Fantastic video, very informative. Thanks for posting.

  39. I really dont like this guys face and hes talking to fast. I didnt come here for thus crap

  40. One of my grandfathers was one of the men in charge of the financials for ordering steel for the Golden Gate Bridge.

  41. I CAN SEE MY HOUSE! 0:35

  42. Who else hates when americans make vídeos with only imperial measures?
    No subtitles in metric

  43. i thought it was destoryed by godzila

  44. I'm so so very very lucky guys bec.I have a golden memorable pendant made by golden gate of sanfransisco calf.I think this pendant own by designer engener of that brigde.the question is how ….the .pendant came in the Phil.buried in the back of our home seing my father in 1995 ..that's why when I was young I know already the story /or record that briged. The briged draw at front side of the pendant at can read…….the world single suspension briged. Finest in 1935 at the cost of 35 million dallors…4,200ft.1'1/6 miles long 6 line wide 693.000cu yrd concrete.80.000miles cable wire was use and over 100.000 tones of steel.

  45. Guys please help me ,I just want to sale this pendant to the meuseum of the San Fransisco calf.for the briged memories.

  46. I remember those days when I played MM2 game in my computer. There're SF city map in the game and with the bridge.

  47. America used to lead the world in everything. Now we’re basically a 3rd world country.. import the 3rd world, become the 3rd world

  48. If you were to ever re do this one, definitely worth talking bout the way they divide traffic. They used to use yellow pegs and hand swap them to change lane configurations for the daily traffic needs. Not they use a steel and concrete barricades that can be moved by a truck that will eventually be done via a drone.

  49. U idiots couldn't make it flat and wider with no bullshit on top ND closer to the ground y'all are stupid ass Fuck no one would of died if it was lower

  50. The real question is, how did they manage to perfectly align the towers from so far away

  51. 4:05 Also it’s not Mayrin in Marin

  52. I walked across it a few years ago. The hardest part was keeping myself from fainting when i just "had" to look down. I dont know how those guys could work so far up.

  53. Please do one about the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


  55. 1000 miles of wire! That’s like 100 times one way. Amazing how this was accomplished

  56. Erected.


  58. Why is the metal so far from each other

  59. Hey anyone k knows the name too the song in 3:48

  60. If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers on your hat 👌

  61. Anyone else think it's funny when a Britt teaches American history? lol

  62. and now people kill them selfs with it

  63. People have made way bigger bridges but this one get the recognition because the US…

  64. Now you should do an in-depth expose on the holy Golden Empire that sits at the North End of the bridge and controls everything that's passing over

  65. great video but it looks like youre out of focus

  66. Oh top of the morning to ya please have an English guy talk about the Golden Gate bridge good idea

  67. This is the last building Technology of America…while Chinese are making the world …..WOW with their engineering prowess..

  68. Difficult to understand this narrator.

  69. Phillip Anderson I love your story don’t listen to that jjerk

  70. The ferry cartels… Sounds like the fossil fuel criminals these days….

  71. Epic bridge!

  72. Big push to get the bridge built for 19 illuminate 33…. And orange

  73. Wtf is with this stupid looking man's face needed to be shown within the duration of this video? U wanna be on Hollywood boy? Well don't do it here coz science and engineering has nothing to do with Ur face…..and showing Ur face while narrating won't make u look genius or sumthing

  74. international orange is same as grapefruit?

  75. Why not gold instead of red

  76. There is any tolls tax on this bridge… When passing through this bridge.

  77. Donald Trump should pick a new paint scheme for the bridge.

  78. Many suicides

  79. See You Guys on the Bridge on May 2037! See you there!

  80. We want to see how was it put into the water…

  81. San Fransisco is a trash dump….

  82. Cross into the land of feces on sidewalks.

  83. MERICA

  84. No mention of Bethlehem steel?

  85. Only story telling!!!!

  86. Look at the comment number haha 696…oh wait shit I made it 697 whoops

  87. The steel for that bridge was made in my state by Bethlehem Steel.

  88. Its stupid, many building like this can you see in chinese

  89. Is there any human who can hear the word 'erection' and not giggle?

  90. Born and raised in the heart of San Francisco. It’s one of the best(historical landmarks, economy, uniqueness, creativity) and worst(homelessness, crime, drugs, crazy people) cities in the world!

  91. It breaks my heart what San Fran Shitsco has become these days. Just another casualty of a libtard run corrupt city. I hope Nancy slips on turd and falls on Hep A infected needle

  92. The Golden Gate Bridge is the second-most used suicide site/suicide bridge in the world, after the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge.The deck is about 245 feet (75 m) above the water. After a fall of four seconds, jumpers hit the water at around 75 mph (120 km/h; 30 m/s). Most of the jumpers die from impact trauma. About 5% of the jumpers survive the initial impact but generally drown or die of hypothermia in the cold water.

    After years of debate and over an estimated 1,500 deaths, suicide barriers began to be installed in April 2017. Construction will take approximately four years at a cost of over $200 million.

    In December 2019, it was reported that construction of the suicide prevention net is two years behind schedule because of issues with the lead contractor, Shimmick Construction Co. Shimmick was sold in 2017, leading to the slowdown of several existing projects. The completion date for the Golden Gate Bridge net is now set for 2023.

    Since its completion, the Golden Gate Bridge has been closed because of weather conditions only three times: on December 1, 1951, because of gusts of 69 mph (111 km/h); on December 23, 1982, because of winds of 70 mph (113 km/h); and on December 3, 1983, because of wind gusts of 75 mph (121 km/h).

    An anemometer, placed midway between the two towers on the west side of the bridge, has been used to measure wind speeds. Another anemometer was placed on one of the towers.

    In the 1930s, a rule of thumb on high-steel bridge construction projects was to expect one fatality for every $1 million in cost. By those standards, the construction safety record for the $35 million Golden Gate Bridge was impressive: only 11 construction workers died.

    (By contrast, 28 laborers died building the neighboring San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which opened six months prior.) Joseph Strauss made safety a high priority on the treacherous project.

    The chief engineer made the construction site the first in America to require workers to wear hard hats, and he spent $130,000 on an innovative safety net that was suspended under the bridge deck.

    The net saved the lives of 19 workers, who called themselves the “Halfway to Hell Club.” Ten of the 11 fatalities occurred in a single accident on February 17, 1937, when a 5-ton work platform broke apart from the bridge and fell through the safety net.

    BY APPLE IPAD PRO,2019,12.9

  93. On Baker Beach, it appears a pair of tourists are talking like old friends, just trying to take a perfect selfie with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.


    In fact, Kevin Hines and Ken Baldwin are little more than strangers who happen to share an incredible connection. Both jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge – and survived.

    They want you to know the overwhelming emotion they both had the moment their fingertips left the railing.

  94. Do the Mackinac Bridge

  95. Nice Ellen font in the corner

  96. This is the San Francisco Bridge

  97. Kurdistan Republic Exist Vor Ever Kurdistan Republik Existiert für immer تاسست واستقلت دوله كوردستان العظمى للابد بقرار ات مجلس الامم المتحده الامريكيه و الدول العظمى

  98. I just cant understand how someone would build something over water

  99. Great video

  100. Still the world’s most famous bridge.

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