Tacoma Narrows Bridge


To engineers, crossing the Tacoma Narrows presented more of an economic challenge. Originally it was hoped the federal government would help pay for an $11 million bridge that would cut at least 40 miles off the trip between Tacoma and Bremerton. After the federal government refused, the state turned to Leon Moisseiff, who calculated that a thin-plate girder type bridge could be built for only $6.4 million. The collapse of the bridge shocked the engineering community, and the lessons learned did a lot to shape future American bridge building. The replacement bridge, built in 1950, is one of the largest suspension bridges in the world.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The original, 5,939-foot-long Tacoma Narrows Bridge, known as "Galloping Gertie," opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, after two years of construction. It collapsed just four months and seven days later, during a 42-mph wind storm. The sunken remains of "Galloping Gertie" were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.