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The Golden Gate Bridge

California is known as the Golden State, and one of its most famous monuments is the Golden Gate Bridge. It is more than 2,700 metres long and 227 metres tall, and is one of the Wonders of the Modern World.


100 years ago people had to travel across the body of water on the northern end of San Francisco by boat. City officials wanted to build a bridge for many years before they started building the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933. The bridge took four years to build and cost more than $35 million. It has two towers, 129,000 kilometres of wire and about 1.2 million rivets. The bridge is painted orange, but looks golden at night. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964.


On the day the Golden Gate Bridge opened - May 27th, 1937 - city officials had a big opening ceremony and more than 200,000 people walked and skated across it. The next day the bridge opened to traffic for the first time. More than 2.2 billion vehicles have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened. The bridge has six traffic lanes and a speed limit of 72 kilometres per hour. It also has a walkway on each side for pedestrians and cyclists.


The best way to enjoy the bridge is to walk or cycle across it. You can look out at San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Then visit the Bridge Round House, a restaurant beside the bridge.


Sadly, some people don't go to the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy it, but to end their lives. The bridge is the second most used suicide site in the world. More than 1,600 people have ended their lives by jumping of it. The bridge now has telephones that connect to a suicide hotline, and employees who are trained to help suicidal people.


There are plans to put a net under the bridge, to stop people jumping off it. And officials plan to put a new barrier between traffic lanes, to make them safer. The bridge will be closed for 52 hours, which will be the longest it’s been closed since it opened. So, if you've ever dreamed of seeing an empty Golden Gate Bridge, this is your chance.

Source: Speak Up, n.º 350.


Escola Básica e Secundária de Muralhas do Minho, Valença  |