Tacoma Narrows Bridge Essay

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Tacoma Narrows Bridge One of the most influential engineering discoveries in the past century was the ill-fated Tacoma Narrows Bridge. “Galloping Gertie” as she was known to local residents, the massive Washington state suspension bridge shook, rattled and rolled its way into the history books. Legendary in its time, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge held many records and drew tourists from around the world in its short life. However, the famous bridge is not known for its creative engineering or speedy construction, unfortunately the bridge was destined to fail. That failure in turn changed the way every building is constructed today as well as further man’s understanding of physics and the forces of nature. In this paper we…show more content…
After years of deliberation, state officials decided that the time had come to create the Washington Toll Authority in order to save the necessary funding to build a bridge to span the Tacoma Narrows. In 1937 the project had begun, and officials sought a bridge designer to get their plan moving. Leon Moisseiff was commissioned in 1937 to build a bridge that would rival the length of the Brooklyn Bridge yet remain elegant and appealing to residents. He created a perfect design and the project moved in search of contractors. From 1938 to 1940, continuous work constructed a suspension bridge a mile-long. At the time, the Tacoma Narrows was the third largest bridge in the world. The design was simple yet slender, with two 420 foot tall towers and a pair of suspension cables supporting the road. The towers were reinforced carbon steel to support the lengthy bridge. The concrete deck was 39-feet wide and 8-feet deep. The girders were made of carbon steel anchored in giant blocks of concrete. The design was narrower, lighter and more flexible than any other bridge in the world. The Seattle Toll Authority expected to Leon’s design to handle 60,000 vehicles a day and increase travel to Olympic Peninsula. The one mistake that caused this entire bridge to fail was a last minute change made by the contractors early on in the build.
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