BRIDGES: Safety nets will be installed below Golden Gate Bridge

District approves funding for measure, which will prevent suicides

Bridges News San Francisco Chronicle July 01, 2014
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The Golden Gate Bridge will no longer be a suicide attraction. The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District unanimously passed a $76 million plan to install steel-cable nets 20 ft below the east and west edges of the bridge to prevent people from taking fatal plunges into the San Francisco Bay. If jumps are still executed, the nets should provide a safe landing. Several who have lost loved ones to suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge applauded the move, which was a decade in the making. According to the Bridge Rail Foundation, at least 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths from the signature span—with 46 incidents recorded in 2013. The District considered five different suicide barriers—the other four solutions were a variety of fences or walls—and went with the net option. Two nets made out of thick steel cables will be stretched 1.7 miles across the length of the bridge and will be two stories below the public sidewalks. They also will have a slight upward slope and will collapse if somebody falls into them, making it difficult to escape. After initially opposing the use of tolls, the District committed to spend $20 million in the bridge-crossing fees to help play for the nets. The rest of the money will come from federal funds and California’s mental health funds. “It’s not every day you have the opportunity to save a life, and hardly ever that you have an opportunity to save many lives,” said District Director Janet Reilly. “Today is that day.”

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