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San Francisco Golden Gate

The Golden Gate Bridge is absolutely one of the most famous, if not the most famous, landmarks of California. Its buddies in that top ranking would be the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood stars and the fabulous beaches made famous by such TV programs as Baywatch and Laguna Beach. Within San Francisco itself, the Golden Gate Bridge is probably the biggest attraction.

The bridge takes its name from the strait over which it crosses, The Golden Gate Strait, which connects the San Francisco bay to the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is a suspension bridge, one which had the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed in 1937. It no longer holds that title, being shorter than the Tsing Ma Bridge in China, the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark and the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, to name but a few bridges which are longer. It connects San Francisco city to Marin County.

The bridge was built to act as a substitute for the ferry system which people once used to cross the strait; however experts then said that building a bridge would be impossible due to the omnipresent fog and fierce winds. The original estimate for building the bridge was $100 million, a huge sum for back then (even more so than now), but up stepped an engineer, Joseph Strauss, to say that he could do it for ‘just’ $17 million. It took ten years of lobbying for Strauss to get the go-ahead with the building of the bridge, which he eventually did get, and he now has a statue dedicated to him, thanks to his perseverance.

The Golden Gate Bridge may seem to be a solid red color but in fact it is a color called ‘international orange’ which was a color chosen to compliment its surroundings whilst setting it apart enough for motorists to be able to see, especially when it’s foggy. The wind is something else which the bridge and those crossing it have to contend with, though it has only been closed three times due to weather reasons; in 1951, 1982 and 1983, each time in December.