Bipartisan bill builds bridges to retrofit SF landmark


Joseph Zuloaga '23

The Golden Gate Bridge will be retrofitted thanks to a $400 million grant from the Department of Transportation.

Taylor Tran ‘25, Staff Reporter

The most famous tourist attraction of the Bay Area, which has served the state for almost 86 years, recently received $400 million for a renovation project. 

The Golden Gate Bridge has been a staple of not only San Francisco, but California as well, with thousands of cars using it every day. The iconic bridge is due for a renovation after several decades of use.

An ongoing retrofit for this landmark has been in the works since 1997, almost a decade after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Remarkably, the earthquake did not cause damage to the span, but it effectively worried officials about the outcome of the bridge if another earthquake of that magnitude or greater were to hit. 

An ongoing retrofit for this landmark has been in the works since 1997, almost a decade after the Loma Prieta earthquake.

After this, phase 1 was initiated, in which the Marin side of the bridge was retrofitted. Phase 2 and phase 3a of the project, which modernized the San Francisco side, and ensured that the bridge would not collapse in a quake, began in 2001 and ended in 2014. 

These past phases led to the current and final phase–phase 3b, in which engineers plan to strengthen the foundations and make other modifications to ensure the bridge’s durability during earthquakes. 

Engineering teacher Frank Torrano believes that the bridge needs to be retrofitted, saying, “I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a good idea to do that [retrofit]. Do it when we can, not when we have to.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the bridge is currently in good condition, but if a renovation doesn’t come soon, it will continue to deteriorate and be in poor condition in as little as three years. 

Kurt Osmer, another resident engineering instructor, predicts that the construction will “probably… start real soon.” 

In total, phase 3b will take six years to complete – just in time to stop the bridge from further deterioration. As Osmer put it, “This is the perfect time to do it.”


The massive grant for this project was issued on Dec. 29, 2022, by the Department of Transportation’s Bridge Investment Program. This grant was made possible by the infrastructure bill that was signed by President Joseph Biden in late 2021, which provided large grants for the retrofitting of structures to keep them sturdy against any issues, and ensuring that the bill for this project would not fall solely on regional taxpayers. 

Since this phase of the project is said to cost more than all the other phases combined, Osmer believes the infrastructure bill’s timing was perfect.

The Golden Gate Bridge’s construction will continue to be a work in progress, but as Juliana Murguz ’25 stated, “The years and money poured into this project will lead to a stable and safe landmark, which is worth the wait.”