Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940)
Tacoma Narrows Bridge - 1940 - Opening Day
University of Washington Libraries. Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collection, UW22310z
BH Photo #120046
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. of Federal Way, Washington (Foundation Contractor)
- Leon Moisseiff of Riga, Latvia (Consulting Engineer)
- Wire suspension
Length of largest span: 2,800.0 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Total length: 5,939.0 ft. (1.1 mi.)
Deck width: 39.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
- Also called
- Galloping Gertie
First Tacoma Narrows Bridge
- 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)
- Quadrangle map:
- Gig Harbor
- Inventory numbers
- NRHP 92001068 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 37083 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- April 11, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
- April 7, 2014: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge ruins are on National Register.
- 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