SAN FRANCISCO — The daredevils dangling some 700 feet up the Golden Gate Bridge may not be daredevils at all. “The first time you go over you got a death grip on this rope. You can see it in the new guys,” said Nick Clark.
Clark and Jason Nauman are part of a team of engineers examining every inch of the iconic towers. It’s the most detailed look since the bridge opened in 1937.
“For the most part we’re looking for corrosion,” said Nauman.
He adds that’s especially on the rivet heads and seams between the steel plates. In years past, the towers were checked using only binoculars, even after earthquakes.
But bridge officials decided to take a closer look as new federal regulations require assessment of 18,000 bridges across the country.
“For a bridge that’s over 80 years old she looks pretty good,” said Clark.
When the bridge was built with 70,000 tons of steel, those were daredevils using none of the safety equipment that is standard today.
“We have one line that supports us, and then we have a second line that’s a backup,” Clark explained.
But we pointed out it doesn’t look like much of a backup from that height.
“It’s not a very big rope, 11 millimeter,” said Clark. “So, not even a half an inch on this rope, but incredibly strong.”
Thousands of visitors a day come to the bridge to take in the city view, but those with the best view may be just hanging out.
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