The Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association (BEAA) and the Bucknell Club of Northern California sponsored a Historical Overview and Walking Tour of the Golden Gate Bridge on March 23, 2014. 

With attendance at more than 45 alumni, parents and friends, the event began with a University Update by Keith Buffinton, dean of the College of Engineering, followed by a historical overview of the Golden Gate Bridge by Jim Orbison '75, professor of civil and environmental engineering. During the talk, Prof. Orbison provided the group important facts and vital statistics about the bridge such as:

  • Construction began in January 1933. Bridge opened May 1937 - ahead of schedule and under budget!
  • Total length with approach spans: 8,980 feet
  • Tower height above water: 745 feet
  • Six traffic lanes with two sidewalks for a total width of 90 feet
  • Bridge weight: 890,000 tons
  • Construction cost: $35.5M ($1.4B today)
  • The main span of 4,200 feet was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1937 until 1964 when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened in NYC with a main span of 4,260 - deliberately built 60 feet longer.

After the talk, the group enjoyed a sunny, but extremely windy walk on the bridge. Prof. Orbison offered historical information about the bridge via headsets to the group throughout the walking tour.

If you have an interesting education tour idea or you have connections to a tour for our alumni and students, please contact Lois Engle at