The Golden Gate Bridge is currently singing a concerning song to all those who try to cross. If there's one thing you really don’t want a bridge to do, it’s creak and groan in the wind. However, some people crossing the Golden Gate Bridge recently may have noticed a series of strange noises emanating from the famous landmark in recent strong winds.
Posted by Twitter user @psychunseen, the winds seem to create an ethereal howl across the structure, which is so loud people can hear it in their cars as they drive over.
While it sounds a little creepy to people crossing, the noise is causing a huge disturbance to local residents who currently have to deal with constant screeching whenever winds start to pick up.
The noise is thought to originate from a retrofit of the bridge in 2020, in which the structure was secured in case of high winds and a railing was added that had thinner slats than previously, in part to deter suicides. It quickly became apparent that this came with some unintended side-effects, though, as high winds of 35.4 kilometers per hour (22 miles per hour) or more coming from the west create a low-pitched tone, and winds of 43.5 kmph (27 mph) or more create a higher frequency tone. The lower tone is most problematic as it appears to travel the furthest, but together they create a bridge that sings quite often.
Luckily, such issues are taken quite seriously and engineers have already devised a plan to fix them. Taking the railings to a wind tunnel allowed them to analyze just how the sound is created and to find a way to stop it from happening, which they have now outlined in a proposal.
The winning solution was a series of U-shaped clips that would be placed at each end of every slat to disrupt the airflow passing through and prevent the small vortexes that are thought to be creating the noise. The clips reduced all sounds by 75 percent and only made an audible noise in incredibly high winds of 101.4 kmph (63 mph) and above.
According to the engineers, it is the most cost-effective solution, but installing clips to both sides of all 12,000 slats on the new railings won’t come cheap - the new modifications will cost around $450,000 (£364,000) to complete.
“The proposed solution will be invisible to most Bridge users and, importantly, will not affect the Bridge’s structural stability during sustained high winds. Installation is expected to be complete in the first half of 2023,” the proposal says.