First Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Tacoma Narrows Bridge - 1940 - Opening Day
University of Washington Libraries. Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collection, UW22310z
February: Legislature authorizes a Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Nov. 26: Construction begins on the bridge.
May: Two months before completion, workers notice a bounce or "galloping" of the bridge in winds as light as 4 mph. Some chew on lemons to combat nausea.
June: Carpenter Fred Wilde dies of a head injury after falling 12 feet. Days later, a bridge worker falls 190 feet into the water and survives.
July 1: Opening ceremony. Engineers proclaim no danger in the $6.6 million bridge's "bounce." Tolls: 55 cents one-way for car and driver, 10 cents per passenger.
Nov. 7: Just 4 months old, "Galloping Gertie" collapses. In gusts of 42 mph, the roadway at 10 a.m. begins a lateral twisting motion. An hour later, a 600-foot section of road in the western half of the center span breaks free and falls into the water. Minutes later, the rest of the central span falls.
June: The bridge's tear-down and salvage operation is complete. Steel is reused to help relieve shortages during World War II.
- Lost suspension bridge over Tacoma Narrows on Primary State Highway 14-A in Tacoma
- Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington
- Built 1940, collapsed on November 7, 1940
- - Clark H. Eldridge (Design Engineer)
- General Construction Co. (Foundation Contractor)
- Leon Moisseiff (Consulting Engineer)
- Wire suspension
Length of largest span: 2,800.0 ft.
Total length: 5,939.0 ft. (1.1 mi.)
Deck width: 39.0 ft.
- Also called
- Galloping Gertie
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +47.26881, -122.55103 (decimal degrees)
47°16'08" N, 122°33'04" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 10/533961/5235134 (zone/easting/northing)
- USGS topographic map
- Gig Harbor
- Inventory number
- BH 37083 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- November 26, 2010: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
- November 22, 2010: Essay added by Jacob P. Bernard
- July 30, 2010: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
- August 23, 2009: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Name of route at time bridge stood
- August 5, 2008: Added by Michael Goff
- Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Opening of Tacoma Narrows Bridge - An article about the bridge from the Washingtonton State History Encylopedia.
- Collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge - An article about the collapse from the Washingtonton State History Encylopedia
- Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Jacob P. Bernard - jacob_bernard [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Wikipedia - 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
A small correction. At the time Gertie stood, Washington State Route 16 was then known as Primary State Highway 14A. WA16 didn't become signed as such until Washington reassigned state highway numbers in a renumbering program that took effect in 1964.
It should be changed in the record for historical accuracy, that it crossed the Narrows at Primary State Highway 14A.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Gallopin' Gertie looked pretty nice on opening day!