What Suspends a Suspension Bridge?

The deck is suspended from the main cables by vertical steel ropes.

The piece of suspender rope mounted here is original, installed when the bridge was built in 1937. To maintain the lifespan of the Bridge, all of the suspender ropes were replaced in 1973-1976.

The steel suspender ropes are the 500 vertical lines you can see and touch across the length of the Golden Gate Bridge.

One of the suspender ropes on the bridge is strong enough to lift the ship you are on. Each of the steel suspender ropes is strong enough to hold the weight of one-half million pounds (225,000 kilograms).

What Suspends a Suspension Bridge

The roadway deck of the Golden Gate Bridge, and all the weight of the traffic on it, is hung from the curving main cables by steel suspender ropes.

More Images

What Suspends a Suspension Bridge - Suspender Ropes Vertical suspender ropes are spaced 50 feet apart across both sides of the Bridge. All 250 pairs of suspender ropes were replaced in the 1970s.
What Suspends a Suspension Bridge - Suspender rope cross-section A cross-section of one of the original vertical suspender ropes.
What Suspends a Suspension Bridge - One-half million pounds Each suspender rope is capable of holding up one-half million pounds, or the weight of a Golden Gate Ferry vessel.

Explore this Topic Further

How Much One Rope Can Hold from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD)
Facilities Engineer Jorge Lee at an exhibit on Golden Gate Ferry's M.S. San Francisco comparing the strength of each of the 500 vertical lines (steel suspender ropes) one sees across the Bridge with the weight of that half-million-pound ship.