Building the Golden Gate: The Impossible Bridge | Megaprojects I | Episode 9

05 of January of 2022

The bridge that we see today is not the bridge that chief engineer Joseph Strauss had in mind when he first pitched his idea for the Golden Gate. His 1921 design was big and clunky. Like one of those old metal railway bridges you see in the movies. Not something that would fit in with the surroundings of the San Francisco Bay.

But Strauss had designed his bridge (a mix of a cantilever and suspension bridge) like this for one reason: No suspension bridge had ever spanned a gap as big as the Golden Gate before.

It would take over 10 years of planning, hundreds of sketches and an almost complete redesign, but the bridge many people said would be impossible to build, was about to be built.

On this episode of Sounds Like Infrastructure, we go beyond the iconic image of the Golden Gate bridge and ask ‘how did they actually build it?’. We talk to Luis Martín Tereso, one of Ferrovail’s most experienced bridge engineers, and to the author Henry Petroski, to find out how a suspension bridge actually works, how construction workers battled with the elements of the San Francisco bay, and how Strauss used pioneering safety and construction methods to pull it all off.

Sounds Like Infrastructure is a collaboration between Ferrovial and Veleta Media. Our team includes Kevin García King, José Luis García Guaita, Arantxa Gulias Valverde, Manuel Sánchez Medina and Craig Lawless. Editing by Craig Lawless.

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