Engineers are at work trying to fix a loud humming sound coming from the Golden Gate bridge that has irked San Francisco residents and surrounding communities.
The iconic bridge started emanating an eerie loud hum after the addition last year of a sidewalk safety railing on its western side, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.
Crews replaced roughly 12,000 wide slats with narrower ones, to give the bridge a slimmer profile and make it safer in high winds.
But as safety was increased, so was the noise, as gusts whipped through the new slats, according to The Chronicle. Commuters on the 83-year-old bridge have posted recordings of the din online.
"It’s really loud," San Francisco resident Aneela Brister told the Chronicle. "Huge and all-encompassing. It makes you worry if the bridge is coming apart."
The noise can be heard as far away as Daly City – about 10 miles south of San Francisco.
"Some people have found it to be meditative and angelic," said bridge spokesman Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, while quickly acknowledging that most people find it distressing.
Cosulich-Schwartz said engineers using full-size sections of the bridge railing inside a wind tunnel are working on a solution, but he couldn't provide additional details.
"We’ll have more to say this summer," Cosulich-Schwartz said. "It’s a tricky business. We want to be absolutely sure we get it right. We will never sacrifice the structural integrity of the bridge but we want to be responsive to our neighbors.’’
Since opening in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was closed three times – in 1951, 1982, and 1983 – because of high winds.
The strongest gusts of winds were measured around 75 mph, but bridge engineers want to be prepared for winds as high as 100 mph.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.