Had Galloping Gertie kept standing, it’d be nowhere near as famous as it is today. The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, completed in 1940, blew down four months after it opened and immortalizes engineering gone wrong. It became a powerful symbol of the importance of aerodynamics, its short life forever changing how engineers design bridges.
It will be recognized again Aug. 11 by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Members will remember that fateful day — Nov. 7 — and the significant effect the failure of the bridge had on advancing the science of suspension bridge design. The event will be 1:30 p.m. at Living Memorial Park, 7201 Sixth Ave. Attendees will include the Pierce County executive, Tacoma mayor, ASCE international president, ASCE national history and heritage committee member, a Narrows bridge historian, 2007 Narrows Bridge design engineer and WSDOT officials.
The ceremony will occur at an overlook inside the park that will be the site of a memorial to be built by ASCE commemorating the landmark designation for the 1940 and 1950 Tacoma Narrows bridges.