Even though travelers complained about Galloping Gertie,
authorities still insisted it was safe because it was designed according to
proven scientific formulas. According to these formulas the bridge was more
than capable of handling the everyday stress of traffic.
The bridge designers got the shock of their lives when, four months after
the completion of the bridge, a windstorm howled through the area. The
sustained winds of over forty miles an hour acted on the bridge in
ways the engineers never anticipated. The bridge, which always seemed
a little unsteady, all of a sudden began pitching and rolling violently from
side to side. Apparently the wind passing over the bridge's road surface was creating lift in the same manner as air currents
passing over the
wing of an airplane.
A driver caught on the bridge when this rolling began became fearful for his
life. He stopped his car and opened the door to get out. The bridge tilted so
violently beneath him as he stepped out that his face slammed into the pavement. In desperation to escape
with his life, he left his dog in the car. Unable
to stand on the crazily moving bridge he crawled hundreds yards on his hands and
knees to safety. He was no sooner off the rolling part of the bridge when,
turning around, he saw his car tumble off the bridge and fall the long distance
into the churning waves below. Seconds later he watched aghast as the long
mid-section of the bridge broke apart. He had gotten off just in time. The great
modern bridge so carefully designed, plunged through the air crashing into the
depths of Puget Sound. Fortunately no one was seriously injured when the Tacoma
Narrows Bridge collapsed.
Why did Galloping Gertie breakup? It broke up because the effects of the wind
were not clearly understood by the engineers. Their formulas were correct as far
as they went but they did not take into account the effect of strong side winds.
The demise of Galloping Gertie teaches everyone a lesson. People have always had many different ideas on what will get them
There seems to be a whole array of formulas on how to bridge the gap between
themselves and God.