Tacoma Narrows Bridge History Website
Tacoma Narrows Bridge resources


The Bridge as a Connection

Why were the
bridges built?

The Bridge as Machine

How did they
build the bridges?

The Bridge as Art

Why do the bridges
look like they do?
  People of the Bridge
Who designed
the bridges?

A Tale of Three Bridges - 1940

"Galloping Gertie" - This First Narrows Bridge

Thursday, November 7, 1940.

Thursday, November 7, 1940. For bridge engineers, it's a day that forever lives in infamy. Just four months after the span opened to traffic it tore apart in a 40-mile-per-hour windstorm. At about 10:30 a.m., a center span floor panel dropped into the water 195 feet below. The roadbed broke up and chunks of concrete and pelted the Narrows. The first Narrows Bridge is by no means the only bridge to ever collapse; Galloping Gertie's demise may represent the most dramatic failure in the history of bridge engineering. But it's a failure that contributed significantly to the sturdier and safer suspension bridges of today.

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