The Golden Gate Bridge
|It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, but today's seismic engineers estimate it could take less than sixty seconds to destroy if an earthquake's epicenter hits near the bridge...|
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, which are subsidized by today's three dollar toll for southbound drivers.
While engineers did find a way to secure the bridge's towers in the heavy ocean currents, accommodating earthquakes was not part of their original design.
The nearby Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, also built in the 1930s, provides an example of what occurs when tremors and old bridge designs mix. That bridge was hit hard by an earthquake in 1989, forcing the upper deck of the bridge to fall and killing several people traveling below.