Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

The American Society of Civil Engineers voted the Golden Gate Bridge one of the Modern Wonders of the World. It remains the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States. For its beauty and charm, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most frequently photographed bridges in the world.


Prior to the Golden Gate Bridge, residents commuted between San Francisco and Marin County by ferry boats. Ferry services began transporting customers around 1820. Over 100 years later, the Golden Gate Ferry Company had become one of the largest ferry operations in the world. Customers were charged $1.00 per vehicle per trip. A bridge was needed to keep pace with the growing metropolis of San Francisco.

photo by: Nicolas Raymond ©

The Golden Gate Bridge was officially named when state legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act in 1923.

Joseph Strauss, the original designer, said his project could be completed for $17 million dollars, relatively inexpensive to his closest competitor. Although he was the chief engineer for the project, he was very little experience with suspension bridges, so he relied heavily on other engineering and architectural experts. Leon Moisseiff, the designer of the Manhattan Bridge also put his mark on the Golden Gate Bridge by designing the flow of the cable suspension. Irving Morrow is credited with designing the two towers on each side of the bay, as well as much of the visual effects of the bridge. The International Orange color was originally used as a sealant, but residents preferred the orange color to the normal grays, so they requested the bridge continue to be painted the orange color.

Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge commenced on January 5, 1933 and concluded on April 19, 1937. The bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937. The south bound lane does collect tolls for vehicles entering the bridge.


The project had been estimated to cost over $36 million dollars, but the actual cost of the bridge was a little over $35 million dollars. The Golden Gate Bridge is over 746 feet tall and 91 feet wide. It spans the San Francisco Bay at 8,981 feet, a little over a mile and a half. The longest span in the bridge is 4,200 feet long. The bridge is a suspension bridge design with truss arches and truss causeways. Each of the main cables is constructed of 27,572 strands of wire.

The Golden Gate Bridge can carry up to 6 lanes of traffic, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Passenger car traffic estimates approximately 118,000 cars cross the Golden Gate Bridge each day.

quick facts & figures

Construction Start: January 5, 1933

Construction Ended: April 19, 1937

Year Opened: 1937

Tolls: Southbound Lane

Designer: Joseph Strauss

Color: International Orange

Height: 746′

Width: 91′

Length: 8,981′

Total Cable: 27,572 Strands

Total Lanes: 6

Daily Traffic: 118,000