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San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications


The idea of constructing San Francisco Bridge came about in 1872. Francisco’s geographical location did not favor its construction since it was an island. Consequently, no one thought that the project could take off. Evidently, after thorough consultation in 1916, the idea became manifest. Emerging concerns indicated that San Francisco would remain poor because it lacked strategic positioning thus the idea of the bridge (Maxwell 2007).Upon estimation, the total amount needed for the construction would be $250 million. This seemed intricate to accomplish since the country’s total property at the time was $375 million.

“The story behind its construction”

Questions concerning the ability to construct bridges were addressed with the viability of the San Francisco Bridge. Most leaders of the country believed that it was feasible enough to construct a bridge that would link the city to Marin County. In the year 1869, San Francisco’s emperor instructed that a bridge be put up despite the fact that he did not specify the location.

In the year 1917, Francisco’s city engineers held talks with Joseph B. Strauss, well known for constructing numerous bridges. After an exhaustive analysis and estimations, they concluded that the project’s overall cost would range from $25 to $35 million. Since the bridge’s height was supposed to allow large cruises to pass under, the height had to be at least 4000 feet. Edward Rainey, a secretary, then gave Strauss an okay. Events, which followed incorporated intensive research and studies on the project. Later in the year 1921, he submitted a preliminary draft. Later the same year, the government introduced a new bill that was meant to watch over all activities of the construction. Evidently, Frank L. Coombs was the author of the bill. Subsequently, it was adopted thus becoming law; furthermore, it was subject to alteration in the year 1925 and 1931. The project was set on approval and proposals received from many engineering firms in Francisco. After a detailed examination and interviews, Joseph B. Strauss received the contract. Although Strauss faced a lot of opposition, he sought support from many leaders and citizens in the country. The government later allocated $35 million to the project thus in January 5, the project kicked off. He worked together with the formed,” Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District”.


The construction commenced in January 1933.There came a time when “Golden Gate Bridge” and “High way District” faced financial challenges. Strauss’s astounding leadership enabled him to persuade Gianini, “Bank of America” founder to buy bonds to permit the project’s progress. Gianini promised to offer more support through buying more bonds incase they desired. Strauss had a catching ability of attracting engineers and leaders to the project. He was a leader who embraced teamwork and advice. This is evident when he sought the best designers because it could be possible that his preliminary design was not the best (Maxwell 2007). In Maxwell’s book, “Leadership” Strauss is described as the “leader’s leader”. He had qualities of noting the best person to carry out a specific task. Statistics state that it took 25 million hours for the completion of the project, which translates to four years. The bridge had six lanes and was painted orange for easy visibility by the cruises captains. Looking at the working condition of the project, the risks involved were countless. As a result, eleven people lost lives, but it was an acceptable result considering the project’s nature. Besides, nineteen lives were saved by use of nets that sunk at the floor of the river.

Moreover, he completed all the construction work within scheduled time. The last bit of the bridge completed on November 1936. He was able to accomplish all the work with the original budget. It is noted that, this was one among the many construction works he was contented with (Lee 2011). It was so unfortunate that Strauss died one year later after the completion of the project. “The Golden Gate Bridge” became an important landmark In America and people came in large numbers to view the scenery. During its construction, it was not recognizable as a crucial undertaking until its completion. It one of the finest Architectural designs in history. In addition, it shows the importance of good leadership and management skills for success of any project. Apart from this, it has improved the country’s economic status because goods and people can enter or leave the city easily (Lee 2011).

Challenges encountered

Despite his success, Strauss encountered a lot of opposition from many prominent groups such as the military, railroads, and other entities. The ocean was never calm thus making the work trickier. If it were not for the sell of bonds to the “Bank of America” the issue of finances, would have been a chief predicament. Another challenge faced was accidents that resulted to death of a number of technical men therefore delaying the work. There were no ways of preventing these accidents a part from use of nets to trap those who slid thus making the work even more complex. In addition, some riveters encountered a lot difficulty while working in the hollow tunnel. Because of the length of the tunnels, some got lost. In addition, they lacked efficient technology necessary for producing good quality work. Strauss was optimistic enough to utilize the available resources for the best outcome (Malloy 2006). After its official opening in the year 1937, fourteen years later, it was shut for some time in the fear that the strong winds experienced would cause accidents to drivers and other users.

A recovery act aimed at developing good infrastructure became manifest in July 2010. Its focus was funding projects to construct super highways. A plan is also underway to construct a link to “Golden Gate Bridge” from south of the city. This makes it simple for residents to move in and out (Hecox 2010). Through his success in constructing the bridge, we learn that a first-rate project executive should posses’ leadership tendencies. This entails putting in place requisite mechanisms to facilitate control and guidance of the workforce. Failure to achieve such a feat usually culminates in poor strategies.


The bridge was instrumental for the economic growth for the city and the country. Studies show that goods could move in and out of the city cheaply and swiftly. As a result, business boomed and people livelihoods improved. We also note that with determination, effort, and leadership, it is possible to attain project objectives. Not considering the challenges associated with construction of the bridge, Strauss took calculated the risks involved. He could see the viability of the project unlike those who had a negative aspect towards its construction.

List of References

Hecox, D. (2010) Additional Project Headlands roadwork to begin April 1 in the Marin Headlands, Web. 

Lee, N. (2011) San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Pictures and History, Web.

Malloy, B. (2006) San Francisco Bay Bridge, Web.

Maxwell, J. (2007) Leadership: Three books to maximize your Leadership Potential and Empower your Team. New York, NY: Thomas Nelson Inc.

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"San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications." OctoStudy, 23 Mar. 2022, octostudy.com/san-francisco-bridge-engineering-culture-and-communications/.

1. OctoStudy. "San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/san-francisco-bridge-engineering-culture-and-communications/.


OctoStudy. "San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/san-francisco-bridge-engineering-culture-and-communications/.


OctoStudy. 2022. "San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications." March 23, 2022. https://octostudy.com/san-francisco-bridge-engineering-culture-and-communications/.


OctoStudy. (2022) 'San Francisco Bridge: Engineering Culture and Communications'. 23 March.

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