Courtesy of  www.goldengate.orgThe Golden Gate Bridge is in the midst of a 20-year

Courtesy of www.goldengate.orgThe Golden Gate Bridge is in the midst of a 20-year

Golden Gate Bridge seismic retrofit the largest project since original construction

Golden Gate Bridge Chief Engineer Ewa Bauer calls it “the largest undertaking in the history of the bridge since its construction.” Bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie, who has been with the district for 20 years and is one of its foremost historians, says the seismic retrofit is “the most important project” among a series of renovations dating back to the early 1950s.

It’s also the most expensive, by far. Approximately $400 million has been spent reinforcing the bridge since 1997, and another $200 million still needs to be secured to finish the final phase, which should begin within two years and wrap up between 2016 and 2018.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: uppercase; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

By those metrics, the 20-year, $660 million project surpasses even the original construction, which required only four years and $35 million ($564 million in today’s dollars).

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District set out to retrofit the span in response to the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, which collapsed a section of the upper deck of the Bay Bridge, yet left the Golden Gate Bridge unharmed.

The difference was due less to how they were built than where: The Bay Bridge sits on soft bay mud and the Golden Gate Bridge on solid rock.

Still, engineers determined the bridge needed additional lateral support to survive an even larger event and decided to retrofit the landmark to withstand what’s known as a “maximum credible earthquake.”

That translates to about 8.3 on the Richter scale, greater than the 1906 temblor that leveled The City. The bridge was originally designed to withstand about 7.5 percent of its weight in horizontal forces, Bauer said, and today, after retrofitting, the same measure for the south anchorage housing — a critical component of the bridge foundation — is 220 percent.

Phase 3 of the project, under way since 2008, involves strengthening the north anchorage housing and replacing a portion of the roadway deck with 78 new concrete-on-steel panels measuring 25-by-10 feet and weighing approximately 41,000 pounds each; they’ll help the underlying anchorage housing withstand massive quakes by sharing some of the load.

Once the final $200 million infusion is approved by Congress, the bridge’s iconic 1.2-mile suspension span will be strengthened over the course of three or four years. None of the work will alter the appearance of the bridge in any way, Bauer said, and it’s something she takes great pride in. Still, she’s itching to see it complete.

“In my mind,” she said, “the most important thing I have is to get this job done.”

The nuts and bolts of the bridge

  • Length including approaches: 1.7 miles
  • Length of suspension span: 1.2 miles
  • Bridge width: 90 feet
  • Clearance above high water: 220 feet
  • Deepest foundation below mean low-water level: 110 feet
  • Height of towers above water: 746 feet
  • Side-to-side sway at center span: 28 feet
  • Up-and-down sway at center span: 17 feet
  • Vertical suspender ropes: 500
  • Diameter of bridge cables: 363⁄8 inches
  • Wires in each cable: 27,752
  • Length of one cable: 7,650 feet
  • Total length of wire used: 80,000 miles
  • Strands in each cable: 61
  • Lamp posts: 128
  • Rivets in towers: 120,000
  • Gallons of paint applied each year: 10,000-30,000
  • Cubic yards of concrete (original construction): 389,000
  • Tons of structural steel (original construction): 83,000
  • Total weight of bridge (original construction): 887,000 tons

 

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

Just Posted

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

“Radiant Fugitives” by Nawaaz Ahmed is a poignant family tragedy. (Courtesy photo)
“Radiant Fugitives” by Nawaaz Ahmed is a poignant family tragedy. (Courtesy photo)
‘Radiant Fugitives’ explores ties that bind, and divide, a Muslim family

Nawaaz Ahmed’s SF-set novel links personal, political conflicts with passion, empathy

Most Read