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Here’s Why the Golden Gate Bridge Was Singing

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On Friday, the Golden Gate Bridge doubled as a musical instrument as wind passed through its hallowed arches, resulting in a creepy and ghostly tune heard for miles.

“Can someone explain me why is this eerie sound has been going on for an hour in #SanFrancisco,” Alberto Martinez A tweeted from the Presidio.

The reason for the chilling aria? Wind vibrating against new sidewalk railing slats installed along the span’s bike path. “The new musical tones coming from the bridge are a known and inevitable phenomenon that stem from our wind retrofit during very high winds,” said Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District, in a written statement. “As part of the design process, the district did extensive studies on the impacts of the project, including wind-tunnel testing of a scale model of the Golden Gate Bridge under high winds.”

These tests, as seen in a video here, showed that the bridge “would begin to hum” when air passes freely over its roadway.

The high winds on Friday, passing west through the 83-year-old span, caused the tune. After the bridge crooned its first few bars, people, like this commuter driving on the connection’s roadway or this person five miles away at Lands End, posted videos of the international-orange hunk of metal’s moaning.

Reactions to the bridge’s performance were mixed. “The city is now one big David Lynch movie,” said KQED reporter Gabe Meline, while Toni Burton opined, “I think it’s such pretty ‘noise.’ I say, don’t change it!” But one person, whose sentiment was shared by many, said over Twitter, “This is going to seriously cause people to lose their minds. Possibly me.”

So far, there are no plans to alter the bridge to keep quiet; Cosulich-Schwartz said the new design is needed to keep the famed span safe.

After the Golden Gate Bridge trended on Twitter Friday, it made headlines one day later for another reason: Scores of people, protesting police brutality and the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, marched across the bridge, with some people spilling off the sidewalks and onto the streets. Organized by two teenagers, Tiana Day of San Ramon and Mimi Zoila of Marin County, it was the first Black Lives Matter protest ever to be held on the bridge.