Cost To Build Golden Gate Bridge


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The financial outlay to construct the Golden Gate Bridge remains a topic of great fascination for many.

This iconic San Francisco structure touches the sky with its red-painted suspension towers leaving an unerasable mark on the city’s landscape.

Debuted in 1937 the bridge withstood the toll of time and countless earthquake shakes becoming an enduring symbol of architectural genius.

However a question arises: What significant figures did we have to grapple with to bring this colossal project to life?

Cost To Build Golden Gate Bridge

Table of Contents

Construction Cost

The Golden Gate Bridge a notable icon in California cost $35 million to build. When adjusted for inflation that would be roughly $500 million in today’s dollars.

The expenditure covered the construction of the structure engineering and inspection administrative and preliminary expenses and financing. It also included a substantial surplus amount.

Contracts totaling $23843905 were offered to renowned engineering firms like Pacific Bridge Company J.H. Pomeroy & Company and Barrett & Hilp among others for realizing this massive engineering project.

The bridge tolls entirely covered the substantial principal cost and the near about $39 million worth of interest. This achievement led to the retirement of the construction bonds by 1971.

The Golden Gate Bridge was considered a frugal project since it was completed under budget especially considering the difficult financial landscape of the Great Depression.

Building Timeline

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began on the 5th of January 1933 and concluded by April 19 1937. With a total of over four years in construction the Golden Gate Bridge is a triumph of engineering.

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The process started with a ground-breaking ceremony on February 26 1933 attended by eager crowds. The construction timeline covered several stages such as:

  • Building the anchorages
  • Developing the towers
  • Spinning the main cables
  • Establishing the piers
  • Assembling the approach spans
  • Completing the roadway construction

The Bridge welcomed its first commuters on May 27 1937. Since then it has undergone various updates and improvements to maintain its majesty and default security standards.

Safety Measures

When it came to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge safety was a top priority. The chief engineer Joseph Strauss introduced several safety codes and provided workers with safety equipment to minimize accidents.

This was considered revolutionary at the time as most engineering projects didn’t put a strong emphasis on safety.

One of the safety innovations introduced was a safety net which was suspended under the bridge during construction. This was in response to the dangerous work and high winds workers had to endure while building the bridge.

The introduction of this safety net saved 19 lives contributing to a lower number of fatalities than was usual for such large-scale engineering projects at the time.

In addition to the safety net Bullard hard hats glare-free goggles and respirator masks were also used further protecting workers from potential accidents and lead-tainted fumes. Workers were also given a special hand and face cream for added protection.

Contract Awards

In November 1932 contracts totaling $23843905 were awarded for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. This was part of a larger $35 million bond issue which was authorized to cover the full cost of the project.

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The primary contractors on the project were a range of reputable engineering firms. These included the Pacific Bridge Company Barrett & Hilp McClintic-Marshall Corporation (a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation) and John A. Roebling’s Sons Company.

  • Pacific Bridge Company was primarily responsible for the construction of the towers.
  • Barrett & Hilp and McClintic-Marshall Corporation were the primary steel suppliers.
  • John A. Roebling’s Sons Company manufactured the main cables that were essential for the suspension structure of the bridge.

These companies were chosen for their expertise and their ability to deliver high-quality work on such a vast complex project as the Golden Gate Bridge.

Primary Contractors

The primary contractors who undertook the task of constructing the Golden Gate Bridge were some of the biggest engineering firms of the time.

The Pacific Bridge Company Barrett & Hilp and McClintic-Marshall Corporation which was a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corporation took up major parts of construction.

Other contractors included John A. Roebling’s Sons Company famous for their steel cable production J.H. Pomeroy & Company Raymond Concrete Pile Co. and Eaton & Smith Construction Company.

Additionally Pacific Bridge Company took on another significant section of work and Alta Electric & Mechanical Company Inc. handled the bridge’s electrical requirements.

Together these contractors successfully completed this massive engineering project with an overall construction cost of $35 million. The construction was funded by bonds which were fully paid off in 1971.

The companies worked under the guidance of Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss who prioritized work safety. Safety innovations such as ‘Bullard’ hard hats respirator masks and a safety net were introduced during construction.

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Started in 1933 the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937 connecting San Francisco to Marin County and becoming an iconic landmark recognized globally.

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