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Engineers Stage High-Wire Inspection Of Golden Gate Bridge


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A team of engineers dangled from one of the Golden Gate Bridge's massive towers Monday, inspecting the structure for signs of wear and tear from decades of expose to salty mist from the ocean below.

The 746-foot towers contain 44,000 tons of steel each and help keep the famed span in place.

"Our salty marine environment does its best to corrode the steel," district engineer Ewa Bauer said. "The inspection teams will look carefully at every rivet and seam to determine what work we need to do to keep this beautiful structure standing strong."

In 2015, the underside of the bridge was inspected for corrosion. But when it comes to the towers, engineers have used binoculars in the past to look for problem areas, bridge spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.

This is the first time engineers have used ropes and pulleys to rappel down the massive span for an "arms-length inspection."

Bridge officials warned motorists traveling across the structure not to become too focused on the engineers and lose sight of the roadway.

"Take a look, but keep going," Clemens said.

Workers will never be directly over traffic, and scaffolds were installed last week on the sidewalks around the towers to protect people passing below, Clemens said.

Bicyclists should dismount and walk their bikes around the towers. The inspection work was expected to be completed within a week and scaffolding will be removed by May 11.

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