The Tacoma Narrows bridge is a suspension bridge bridge that span the Tacoma Narrows in Washington.
The bridge connects the state Tacoma with Kitsap Peninsula.
The bridge was also called Galloping Gertie, it was opened in July 1940 but collapsed due to aeroelastic flutter 4 months after the opening.
The original bridge opened on July 1 1940. It received its nickname ”Galloping Gertie” because of the vertical movement of the deck during windy conditions.
The bridge became known for this and collapsed into the Puget Sound on November 7th, 1940, due to high wind conditions. A replacement bridge was built in 1950
By 1990, population growth and development on the Kitsap Peninsula caused traffic on the bridge to exceed its design capacity; as a result, in 1998 Washington voters approved a measure to support building a parallel bridge. After a series of protests and court battles, construction began in 2002 and the new bridge opened to carry eastbound traffic on July 15, 2007, while the 1950 bridge was reconfigured to carry westbound traffic.
When they were built, the 1940 and 1950 bridges were the third longest suspension bridges in terms of length, running up to golden gate bridge and the George Washington bridge.
The 1950 and 2007 bridges (which still stand today) are the fifth longest in the US and 38th in the whole world.
Tolls were charged for the whole 4-month lifespan of the bridge, aswell as the first 15 years of the 1950 bridge, in 1965, the bridge’s construction bonds plus interest were paid off, and the state ceased toll collection on the bridge.
And today, they are only collected from people travelling from the eastbound bridge.
The desire for the construction of a bridge in this location dates back to 1889 with a Northern Pacific Railway proposal for a trestle, but concerted efforts began in the mid-1920s. In 1937, the Washington State legislature created the Washington State Toll Bridge Authority and appropriated $5,000 to study the request by Tacoma and Pierce County for a bridge over the Narrows. The bridge was designed by Leon Moisseiff.
The first Tacoma bridge opened in July 1 1940. It collapsed into the Tacoma Narrows 4 months later as a result of areoclastic flutter caused by a 68km/h wind blow.
A contributing factor was its solid sides, not allowing wind to pass through the bridge’s deck. Thus its design allowed the bridge to catch the wind and sway, which ultimately took it down.
No human life was lost in the disaster.
The only death was a cocker spaniel who was left in a car.
An engineer tried to save the poor creature, but the terrified dog bit back when he tried to get him out.
The collapse had been recorded on film and shows the engineer running from the car after trying to rescue the dog.
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