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Golden Gate Bridge Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at 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.


The bridge is 8,981 feet long (1.7 miles) and contains about 83,000 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 746 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.”

The bridge has an advanced security system with motion detectors and security cameras.


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 five feet as to be “practically suicide-proof.” Architect Irving Morrow changed that and lowered the railing.

August 9, 2002 – California’s Office of Homeland Security alerts the FBI after receiving an anonymous tip that terrorists plan to crash a U.S. military plane into the bridge.

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

June 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.

January 12, 2015 – The bridge re-opens after the two day installation of a Road Zipper System. The “moveable median barrier system” is designed for traffic management and to protect riders from cross-over accidents.

April 2017 – Two Wisconsin teens climb the north tower without being noticed by security. Officials are unaware of the events until weeks later when the teens uploaded a video of their climb to YouTube.

August 2018 – Construction begins on a suicide deterrent net. The suicide deterrent net is expected to be completed by 2021.

July 1, 2019 – District tolls and fares increase for drivers crossing into San Francisco. Toll increases will continue through 2023 in order to help reduce the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s $75 million budget shortfall.

June 2020 – The bridge begins making sounds that can be heard as far as three miles away. The “musical tones” coming from the bridge are a result of a project “designed to make the bridge more aerodynamic under high wind conditions and is necessary to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the bridge for generations to come,” a Golden Gate Bridge district spokesperson tells CNN.

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