Saturday, November 7, 2009
November 7, 1940 "Galloping Gertie"
This event did take place about 14 months before I was born. About 11 o'clock in the morning of November 7, 1940, the bridge collapsed due to wind induced vibrations. Having just opened on July 1, 1940 the way it was constructed there was no allowance for the strong winds that blow thru this area. The wind literally twisted the concrete road bed which cause it to break up and fall into Puget Sound below. There were several cars on the bridge at the time, the people driving the cars managed to run to safety but the cars and a little dog were lost as the bridge collapsed. Growing up, I heard my parents relate the details many times. I also remember that when we went to Bremerton, WA to visit my cousins we had to take a ferry across the Tacoma Narrows because the bridge had collapsed. A replacement bridge opened up in 1950, It was four lanes...two in each direction. Over the years the traffic back ups, especially during rush hour were unbearable. Finally in July of 2007 a new 4 lane bridge, right next to the 1950 version opened up to eastbound traffic. What a relief for commuters who travel to and from work every day. The old bridge remains at the bottom of Puget Sound as a reef and a great place for divers to explore.