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Golden Gate Bridge


Golden Gate Bridge, looking north toward the Marin headlands.
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color photo

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge, built between the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and Sausalito on the south-facing Marin County headlands. The construction of the bridge began on January 5, 1933 under the aegis of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), a program instigated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to create public works through federal funds and alleviate the effects of the Great Depression. It was completed in April 1937 and opened to pedestrians on May 27 of that year. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC signaling the start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge.

The bridge spans the Golden Gate, the opening into the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It is 1.22 miles (1970 m) long, the distance between the towers is 4200 ft (1280 m) and their height is 750 feet (230 m) above the water.

The bridge has six total lanes of vehicle traffic and walkways on both sides of the bridge. The median barrier between the lanes is moved to conform to traffic. On weekday mornings, traffic flows mostly southbound into the city, four of the six lanes run southbound. Conversely, on weekday afternoons, four lanes run northbound.

Usually, the eastern walkway is for pedestrians only, and the western walkway is for bicycists only, although this can change during times of construction. Both walkways are closed to pedestrian traffic during the evening and at night.

On September 1, 2002, the toll for southbound motor vehicles was raised from $3.00 to $5.00. Northbound, cycling, and pedestrian traffic remain toll free.

It has been declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers[?].

It was for many years the longest suspension bridge in the world, but was superseded by the 1298m long Verrazano Narrows Bridge[?], New York City in 1964. It also had the world's tallest suspension towers at the time of construction, and held that record until more recently.

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