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ALSO: Restoring the Cable
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Details of the work being done to seismically retrofit the Golden Gate Bridge
On Oct. 17, 1989, the 7.1-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake violently shook the ground north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the structure came through unscathed. However, the temblor's epicenter was more than 50 miles to the south. Bridge engineers worried that the bridge might not hold up in a quake that was stronger or closer. Thus began the effort to retrofit the Golden Gate Bridge to withstand an 8.3-magnitude earthquake centered in the nearby San Andreas Fault. Officials considered engineering, public policy, economics and historical, cultural and architectural values. Bridge components were tested against these criteria, using computer modeling. Those structures that failed were marked for retrofitting.