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.
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.
THE BIG DAY
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
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.
Speak Up, n.º 350.