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Golden Gate Bridge scores $400M to withstand the Big One

The Golden Gate Bridge is shrouded in fog while visitors enjoy the new Presidio Tunnel Tops Park in San Francisco. | Don Feria for The Standard

One of the daily tradeoffs San Franciscans make for mostly temperate weather and spectacular eateries as far as the eye can see is the looming fear of the Big One—an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 or higher that is likely to arrive before 2032, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In a state where over 1 million homes are in need of seismic retrofitting, earthquake safety is a hot topic.

Thanks to a new national infrastructure law, the Golden Gate Bridge is set to receive $400 million to strengthen the crossing against earthquakes like the Big One, said outgoing U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Thursday announcement.

The money to fortify the Bay Area’s claim to fame comes from the Federal Highway Administration, which found that the bridge is in “fair” condition, which would likely deteriorate to “poor” in the next three years without additional work.

The upgrades made possible by the $400 million are vital to the bridge’s structural integrity in the face of earthquakes, the announcement said.

While parts of the bridge that connect the structure to the road were retrofitted in 2013, the main suspension of the bridge still needs upgrading if it’s going to withstand more quakes.

No date has been announced for the bridge upgrades.