Welcome to a site rich in information
on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Slender, elegant and graceful, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge stretched like a steel ribbon across Puget Sound in 1940. The third longest suspension span in the world opened on July 1st. Only four months later, the great span's short life ended in disaster. "Galloping Gertie," collapsed in a windstorm on November 7,1940.
The bridge became famous as "the most dramatic failure in bridge engineering history." Now, it's also "one of the world's largest man-made reefs." The sunken remains of Galloping Gertie were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 to protect her from salvagers.
A dramatic tale of failure and success
The 1950 Narrows Bridge
After 29 months of construction, a new and much safer Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened on Oct. 14, 1950. The current bridge is the 5th longest suspension bridge in the United States. Located on State Route 16 between Tacoma and Gig Harbor, the bridge is 5,979 feet in length. That's 40 feet longer than its predecessor, Galloping Gertie.
Engineers designed the current bridge to carry 60,000 cars a day. But, now it handles an average of over 90,000 vehicles daily.
Here's how the current Tacoma Narrows Bridge compares with other major suspension bridges in the United States.
The 2007 Narrows Bridge
In 1998 the public was asked, "Should the Tacoma Narrows Bridge be modified and a parallel bridge constructed, financed by tolls on bridge traffic and operated as a public-private partnership?" A majority of the voters answered "Yes." Since then, WSDOT and Tacoma Narrows Contractors (TNC) have been developing plans for the new bridge.
The newest Tacoma Narrows Bridge is being
built next to the current bridge. Construction began in October
2002. The project is expected to cost $849 million. The new bridge
will significantly improve traffic flow, reducing the three to four
hour backups that commuters now face.
Speaking of Bridges ... A Note on TerminologyThe first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, completed and destroyed in 1940, earned the nickname "Galloping Gertie." We use the "Gertie" label or "1940 Narrows Bridge." The bridge we drive over today was completed in 1950. We call this one the "Current Narrows Bridge." The new bridge now under construction and scheduled for completion in 2007 we refer to as the "2007 Narrows Bridge."
Photo and Image Credits
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