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Golden Gate Bridge Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 10:02 PM EDT, Sun June 29, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's some background information about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It is a suspension bridge that crosses the Golden Gate, a strait that leads to the San Francisco Bay. I

Characteristics:
It is 8,981 feet long (1.7 miles) and contains about 88,000 tons of steel.

The total weight of the bridge is 887,000 tons.

There are two towers that hold up the two steel cables anchoring the bridge. Also, there are approximately 80,000 miles of wire inside each of the two steel cables.

The towers stand 726 feet above the water and 500 feet above street level. They weigh 44,000 tons each and are 4,200 feet apart from each other.

The bridge is 90 feet wide. There are six driving lanes and two sidewalks. The width of the driving lanes is 62 feet between curbs and the sidewalks are 10 feet each. Street level is about 220 feet above the water.

The color is called "GGB International Orange."

History:
1848 - Captain John C. Fremont names the cleft in the Coastal Mountain Range opening onto San Francisco Bay the Golden Gate. The bridge derives its name from the land feature and not its color.

1916 - James H. Wilkins comes up with the idea to connect northern California to the San Francisco peninsula.

December 1924 - The United States War Department, the government entity responsible for the entire area surrounding the strait, approves the project.

1928 - The Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District is formed and Joseph B. Strauss is appointed as architect/designer.

January 5, 1933 - Construction begins.

May 27, 1937 - The bridge is completed and opens to pedestrians. The bridge is built at a cost of approximately $35.5 million and comes in under budget and ahead of schedule.

May 28, 1937 - The bridge is opened to vehicles.

August 7, 1937 - World War I veteran Harold Wobber, the first bridge suicide, purportedly says, "This is where I get off,' and then jumps to his death.

1939 - A safety railing to prevent suicides is installed. The original bridge design by Strauss called for fencing over 5 ft. as to be "suicide-proof." Morrow changed that and lowered the railing.

August 9, 2002 - California's Office of Homeland Security receives an anonymous tip that terrorists planned to crash a U.S. military plane into the bridge and immediately alerts the FBI. The threat alert is reduced on August 12th.

May 8, 2012 - Opening of the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion.

2013 - According to the Bridge Rail Foundation nearly 1,600 people have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge. The average number of bridge suicides is three per month.

July 27, 2014 - San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors unanimously approves a funding package totaling $76 million to erect and fund a suicide deterrent net on the bridge.

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