Engineers for the Golden Gate Bridge apparently knew that there might be some humming caused by the spacing of new, thinner handrail slats that were installed over the last few months. But they did not know that the bridge would begin creepily singing in a weird key on a regular basis.
The loud hums emitting from the bridge just began making headlines in early June, after a critical mass of the new handrail slats coincided with high winds whipping through the Golden Gate. As the Chronicle reported at the time, the new, less chunky slats are meant to make the bridge more aerodynamic — able to withstand gusts up to 100 miles per hour, where as the old slats were only good to 68 miles per hour.
But now, engineers are saying that their tests never indicated such a large amount of sound would be the result of the new slats, about three quarters of which had been installed by early June when videos and audio of the screech-singing began trending on social media. Per the Chronicle, they say they're now going to look into ways of dampening or eliminating the sound — which is caused by wind blowing up against the entire row of slats like a gigantic harmonica.
The Golden Gate Bridge now makes music. You can hear this whistle all over the city pic.twitter.com/W1V9Dw4sXb— Raemond (@RaemondBW) June 6, 2020
Some find the sounds lovely and ethereal, while others on Twitter describe them as "crazy making."
We can heat this in our house more than three miles away from the bridge. It's crazy making.https://t.co/IM0UbEcZ1c— Ray Ryan (@rjrjr) June 6, 2020
Apparently the engineers found that there was a sound coming from a miniature model of the bridge with the new rails in a test scenario, but they never thought it would get as loud as it has. And it only came to the public's attention after about three-quarters of the new slats had been installed over the course of many months.
A fix is in store, at some point, after some more study efforts. As one engineers says, per the Chronicle, "It will take a little bit of time."
So, prepare for more bridge singing all summer.
Photo: Carl Solder