Exhibit Area 1
(Plaza area)
Welcome Sign [main directory]
How the Bridge Spans the Golden Gate
Bridge Aesthetics - Art Deco on a Grand Scale
Tall and Strong - The Bridge Towers
Steel, Fog, Salt, Rust, and Paint

Exhibit Area 2
(near flagpole)
How the Bridge Vibrates

Exhibit Area 3
(West side of Bridge near underpass)
Historic Preservation: Lattice Strut Retrofit
Historic Preservation: Isolator Seismic Retrofit

Exhibit Area 4
(inside Battery area)
History: Design and Construction of the Bridge
Suspension Cable Tension vs. Tower Height
Battery Lancaster - Defending the Golden Gate

Exhibit Area 5
(along bike path to lower parking lot)
Bridge Deck Aerodynamics
Bridge Deck Torsional Resistance Retrofit
Wind Speed and Wind Pressure

Exhibit Area 6
(near Pavillion)
LIFETILES: animated construction of the Bridge
Braille / Tactile Model of the Bridge

Project Partners

Golden Gate Bridge,
Highway and Transporation District


Consortium of Universities for Research
in Earthquake Engineering

Main Menu : Exhibit Area 4

History of the Design and Construction of the Bridge


The steel trusses on each side of the roadway deck structure along its length can be identified by their triangles. The trusses support beams holding up the roadway and stiffen the deck structure against wind. They span 50 feet (15 meters) between the vertical steel suspender ropes that support them. The vertical suspenders pull the weight of the deck, along with its traffic, up to the main cables. When installed, the 250 pairs of suspender ropes looked like strings on a giant harp.

An advantage of a suspension bridge is that once the towers, anchorages, and main cables are installed, no temporary supports are needed under the bridge to build the roadway deck. The deck is built in sections, proceeding out from the towers in a balanced way, each section hung from the suspenders.

The final piece of the overall structure, the roadway deck structure with its paving, was in place by April 19, 1937, about a month before the Bridge opened.


Solid steel beams across the width of the deck are supported by the steel trusses running the length of the Bridge. Under the deck is the temporary safety net.

Image courtesy of the GGBHTD (Bev Washburn Collection)

The steel trusses may seem small from a distance, but they are 25 feet (7.6 meters) deep.

Image courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Looking north, toward the Marin County end of the Bridge. The suspender ropes are in place, ready for deck installation.

Image courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

In the foreground at left is a grooved clamp or cable band on the main cable, with steel suspender ropes going over it and attached to the deck to hold it up.

Image courtesy of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

All images property of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (unless otherwise indicated).

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Last updated: 11.16.12