AKA: Galloping Gertie, Tacoma, WA

Structure Type: built works - infrastructure - transportation structures - bridges

Designers: James M. McCarthy (civil engineer); Leon Moisseiff (civil engineer)

Dates: constructed 1938-1940, demolished 1940

Tacoma, WA

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Highway 16 spanning Tacoma Narrows between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, WA;

As the famous Golden Gate and Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge were being completed to the south, The Washington State Legislature appropriated money for a Washington Toll Bridge Authority in 1937 to create the third longest suspension bridge (7,392 feet) in the world at that time; linking eastern Puget Sound with the Olympic Peninsula, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was planned and built between 11/1938 and 07/01/1940 and cost $6.4 million; its collapse at 11 A.M., 11/07/1940, caused general concern over the safety of suspension bridge-building principles and techniques; in response to its collapse, new methods of testing bridges in wind tunnels were introduced; the bridge had been one of the most ambitious designs of its day, and it demonstrated new levels of vertical and torsional flexibility; engineering specialists have never categorically determined the reason(s) for its failure; some believe that wind vibration, wave phenomena, and bridge proportions and harmonics combined to cause the disaster; the collapse was one of the most notorious and important in the history of civil engineering; the first bridge's remains were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992; during the information-gathering phase of the registry nomination process, a documentary film was made that won a Cable Ace award for excellence.

Demolished by high winds in 11/07/1940;

PCAD id: 3319