Galloping Gertie! Built in 1940

The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in 1940 to connect the city of Tacoma and the surrounding Puget Sound with the Peninsula area and thereby not only encouraging growth, but making a fine shortcut to the Olympic Mountains.  Certain design flaws were to be the bridges undoing however as it collapsed a mere 4 months and seven days after dedication.

The bridge soon became a regular tourist attraction. People came from all around the area to pay their toll to ride the roller-coaster that was called Galloping Gertie.

At times the rolling was so severe that you couldn't see the car in front of you. 

The second Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in 1950 and the first suspension span constructed in the United States after its predecessor's failure in 1940 from wind-induced torsional oscillations.

Research of design flaws in the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge led to the use of aerodynamic testing as a standard procedure in suspension span structural analysis.

Second Bridge Built in 1950



The Third Bridge Built in 2005 (est.)

Photos courtesy of


The third Tacoma Narrows is scheduled to be constructed along side the existing structure.  Construction is on track to begin early 2001, with a projected cost of $350 million.  The existing Tacoma Narrows Bridge was designed to carry 60,000 cars daily and now it carries approximately 90,000 a day.  The new bridge would significantly increase traffic flow and reduce common congestion which now results in three to four hour backups for commuters.  On March 15, 2000 a green light was given by the federal government and the Dept. of Transportation for this project to proceed.  United Infrastructure is granted authorization to continue with project design, financing, construction and operation of the second Tacoma Narrows bridge
The third bridge will carry eastbound traffic only, the second bridge will be modified for 3 lanes and carry the westbound traffic.
Scheduled for completion in first quarter 2005.