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Steel Structure Trivia: Span on the Strait
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 27, 2012 at 10:01 AM.


Here’s MSC’s April Steel Structure Trivia question! This detailed photo shows one of the intricate steel supports for a 4,200-ft-long icon. Can you name this steel structure? Photo: Larry Flynn


golden-gate-larry-flynn_small.jpgAnswer: This steel structure is the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! (The photo was taken from South Vista Point — if you click on the thumbnail, in the bottom left corner you’ll see the arched steel trusses that support the structure — you can also see the lighthouse at Fort Point) Congratulations to Jon Gerlach of Infrastructure/Design 1 in New York, N.Y.; Kris White of United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio; and Anantha Chittur of Baldridge and Associates, Inc., in Palatine, Ill., for being the first three people to submit the correct answer! And thank you to all who participated.

The Golden Gate Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, spans the Golden Gate strait (its total length is 8,981 ft - about 1.7 miles!), which connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Declared one of the modern “Wonders of the World” by ASCE, the bridge was completed in 1937 and today provides passage to nearly 107,000 users a day.


At 4,200 ft long, and with a vertical clearance of 220 ft at mid-span, the Golden Gate Bridge suspension span was considered the longest in the world for 27 years until New York City’s Verrazano Narrows bridge took that title in 1964. The Golden Gate Bridge’s main towers, suspended structure, anchorages and approaches account for the 83,000 tons of structural steel used on the project.


The Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary is coming up this May 27th! If you live in the area and haven’t yet made plans for Memorial Day weekend — which is also when nearly 600 students will converge at Clemson University, S.C., to compete in the ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) — consider joining the anniversary celebration at the Golden Gate Festival, open to the public. You can also check out other Golden Gate Bridge tribute and anniversary events happening throughout the month of May at


The Golden Gate Bridge received an NSBA Prize Bridge Award in 1937, and was also named an “Industry Choice” winner in NSBA’s special “America’s Favorite Bridges” competition last year. You can read a description about the bridge, and the other selected favorites in the U.S., in the November 2011 issue of MSC (direct link to the article:


You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo showing only a detailed portion of a steel structure will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, May 25.


backscratcher-007_sitn.jpgThe first three people who supply the correct answer will receive a MSC-branded stainless steel back scratcher! You’ll need it to successfully tackle those pesky itches after the trivia pressure subsides. (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 7 in. to 20 3/4 in. in length.

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