One of the best construction obstacles took place underwater. The southern tower to be located an ext than 1,100 feet (335 meters) indigenous the mountain Francisco shore. To construct the southern tower structures, divers played a vital role descending approximately 110 feet (33 meters) right into the turoulend waters the the gold Gate Strait. They inserted dynamite charges and also removed loosened material down to bedrock v high-pressure hoses. Later, they descended to overview the placing of the forms and funnels offered to ar the concrete for the south tower fender.

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Divers worked in water the was dark, murky and cold, and only as soon as the tide changed and the usually strong currents lessened, which arisen four time in a day. Portable air tanks for diving had not yet been invented. A diver’s life relied on the consistent pumping of air with a long hose to the surface.

Image shown above courtesy that the mountain Francisco Historical society - Huggins arsenal - CHS.Huggins.002

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Divers in their heavy gear, prior to putting on helmets.


Workers pack explosive charges right into a structure that is then lowered to the seafloor and also positioned by divers.


If a diver surfaced also quickly, waiting bubbles can be released into the bloodstream, a condition called "the bends." Decompression chambers were kept adjacent just in case.

Field notes of the an obstacle of a diver working on the seafloor from the golden Gate Bridge, Highway and also Transportation ar - an excerpt from ar notes explaining the difficulty of a diver working on the seafloor because of its rarely often, rarely topography and the toughness of the tidal current.

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Underwater Construction

Underwater Construction from PBS American endure (grade 3 to adult)Working underwater to construct the structures was a dangerous job. Building workers in cumbersome diver suits were exposed to cold water and solid currents and also could barely check out in the murky water. Lock went under 90 come 100 feet and had come worry about decompression sickness, also called caisson an illness or the bends, if they came to the surface too quickly.

Caisson Disease indigenous PBS American experience (grade 3 to adult)This provides a brief description of the reasons of caisson an illness (the bends), and also explains the trouble posed because that underwater building and construction workers the was beginning to it is in prevented v standardized recompression procedures. The decompression chamber was invented in 1916.

Pressure rise with ocean Depth from the nationwide Oceanic and also Atmospheric administration (grade 3 come adult)The divers functioning on the Bridge structure 90 feet below the water’s surface experienced about 40 psi press from the weight of the water about them. This net site explains how pressure increases with depth under the ocean.

San Francisco just Tides and also Currents indigenous the national Oceanic and also Atmospheric administration (grade 3 to adult)Find out about the water level, current speed and direction, temperature, and also salinity underneath the golden Gate Bridge during the most recent 24- hour period.

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A bath tub for the southern Tower native the golden Gate leg Highway and Transportation ar (GGBHTD) (all ages)The building of the south pier in deep, fast moving water required building of a concrete fender wall surfaces to safeguard the area native the currents and also stray ships. Divers were important in constructing the fender and also foundation.

Interoffice Memo around Recompression Chambers native the gold Gate bridge Highway and also Transportation ar (GGBHTD) (all ages)