Friday, May 05, 2006

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge was completed in July of 1940. At the time is was the third largest suspension bridge in the world. It was a marvel at the time, spanning 5,939 feet across Pugeot Sound and was popular with the locals. The reason it was popular with the locals was its ability to cut off a large drive time and its motion which earned it the nickname "Galloping Gertie." Galloping Gertie lasted for 4 months. On November 7th, 1940 Gertie was destroyed after it encountered a 42MPH wind which created a 30-hertz transverse vibration (or flutter) on the bridge. Flutter is an interesting thing which I may post on when I know more about it.

On the above video you will see a car was on the bridge. The car belonged to a reporter who abandoned it and crawled back to safety. To see just how much the bridge was moving check out this video which has stabilized the towers. Or you can see what it looked like from the point of view of the dog that was left in that car (a rescue of the dog was attempted but it was too frightened to leave the car and bit the would-be rescuer.)