Meet the Broadway Bridge

WHAT: The Broadway Bridge

FUN FACT: The Broadway opened in 1913 with a black-colored exterior and simple aesthetic that helped limit building costs to $1.6 million (a pretty good bargain even after adjusting for inflation). It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Broadway was repainted “Golden Gate Red,” giving the bridge its distinctive hue.

WHY IT’S SO SPECIAL: There are only three Rall-bascule bridges left in the entire country, and the Broadway is one of them. So, what does that mean? Without getting tootechnical, the Broadway’s double-leaf bascule (“seesaw” in French) uses wheel-mounted counterweights to balance the weight of the two “leafs” as they fold upward. Those complex mechanics are why the Broadway bridge can take 10 minutes or more to lift completely — a not-so-fun fact for commuters.

THE #BROADWAYBRIDGE INSTA-GRAMMY GOES TO…. @marcus swanson, because even though it’s summer, we just love this glimpse of winter.

QUOTABLE: “When I was four years old I got hold of a screwdriver. This gave me an idea. I immediately investigated what this screwdriver was for and practiced on a door lock of the drawing room of the house we lived in and took it all apart. I could not put it together again, and my father said, ‘You will be an engineer.’” —Ralph Modjeski, architect of the Broadway Bridge

Flashback Friday is a weekly-ish series featuring people and events that shaped our city, and we’re binging on bridges right now. Read more about all our city’s bridges here.