A 'boat tunnel' for the Golden Gate Bridge?

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The iconic Golden Gate Bridge had in its early planning stages an idea that would have had the center of the structure submerged in the San Francisco Bay so ships could pass above.

The idea for a "boat tunnel" chopping right through the center of one of the world's now-most-recognizable bridges came from the mind of local inventor and aviation pioneer Cleve F. Shaffer.

The big attraction of Shaffer's plan was monetary: It was thought this bizarre structure would cost a mere third of the bridge's $35 million price tag. The authorities liked that perk enough that they were led to "consider seriously the erection of the boat tunnel bridge," reported the magazine Modern Mechanix, "which would be the only one of its kind in the world."

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