Golden Gate Bridge | Major Landmarks
One of the most enduring landmarks of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge first opened to vehicle traffic on May 27, 1937 providing a major artery between Marin County and San Francisco. Now pictures of the city before the bridge was built seem incomplete. With its 746 foot international orange towers, its sweeping cables and its position on the foot of the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge is both a major roadway for daily commuters and a popular tourist attraction.
Since the Golden Gate opened, nearly 1.5 billion people have crossed the 1.7 mile stretch. During its first 30 years of operation vehicle traffic jumped 750 percent, sparking the creation of both bus and ferry operations.
It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and its integrity is still intact. But seismic engineers believe a $175 million retrofit is required to protect the bridge from an earthquake. They estimate that it could take less than sixty seconds to destroy if an earthquake’s epicenter hits near the bridge. To design the retrofit, supercomputers are being used to simulate an earthquake’s effect on each part of the bridge. The retrofit will take approximately five years to complete and although its cost is significant, it represents only about one-tenth of the eventual $1.4 billion replacement cost of the Golden Gate Bridge.