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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