Tacoma Narrows Bridge Case Study

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The Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened to the public on 1 July 1940, construction having been completed in just one year and seven months. It had a span of 1810 metres, the third longest in the world at the time, and promised to bring great economic growth to the Kitsap Peninsula in the US state of Washington. However, after its spectacular collapse on 7 November 1940, just four months after its completion, the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge is now remembered as one of the most famous structural failures in history. The Tacoma Narrows forms part of the Puget Sound strait, which separates the Kitsap Peninsula from the Washington mainland. A toll bridge across the Narrows to replace the existing ferry system was proposed in order to make use of the economic potential that the mainly undeveloped peninsula had to offer. The Washington State Highway Department was initially going to use the $11 million plan designed by distinguished engineer Clark Eldridge. However, owing to budget constraints, they hired Leon Moisseiff as a consultant, also a prominent engineer at the time, who proposed a design with a much lighter deck stiffened by a plate girder rather than a deep truss, bringing the cost down to about $7 million. Eldridge remained…show more content…
Construction began on 23 November 1938. With one fatality, the construction was completed in June 1940. In the late stages of construction, the bridge began to exhibit wavelike motion in windy conditions, resulting in the workers giving it the nickname “Galloping Gertie”. The toll bridge opened on 1 July, with great success. Traffic compared to the earlier ferry system increased by 145%, with cars even lining up to cross the bridge, and the “galloping” bridge also became a popular tourist

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