Day 264/365 of Steel – Royal Gorge Bridge

Breaking height records.

In 1929, the world’s highest suspension bridge was constructed — The Royal Gorge Bridge. Although the Royal Gorge Bridge may no longer hold that title, let’s think about where we were in terms of technology in 1929. In 2020, a construction like this doesn’t seem that impressive.

The Royal Gorge Bridge
Fig 1: The Royal Gorge Bridge
Photo: Milan Suvajac

We now have the technology to construct buildings, bridges, spaceships, cars, and everything in between. However, in 1929, the first flight around the world took place; scientists had virtually no idea what was beyond Earth, and the most common car people drove in was Henry Ford’s, Model T.

The Royal Gorge Bridge
Fig 2: The Royal Gorge Bridge
Photo: Bkthomson

The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado within Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The bridge crosses at a height of 291m the gorge above the Arkansas River and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001 when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China.

The Royal Gorge Bridge
Fig 3: The Royal Gorge Bridge
Photo: Dough4872

The main span of the bridge between the towers is 268 m, the total length is 384 m and the width is 5.5 m. The steel base structure is covered with 1292 wooden planks. The bridge was built in six months between June and November 1929.

The Royal Gorge Bridge
Fig 4: The Royal Gorge Bridge
Photo: Sarbjit Bahga

Construction began on June 5, 1929. The project needed a workforce and they got one in a hurry, men were willing to work seven days a week, 10-14 hours a day, starting at 30 to 60 cents an hour.

In the early 1980s, the bridge was renovated with new cable anchors, suspension rods and paint. A Skycoaster attraction was added in 2003, with riders being swung out over the edge of the gorge.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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