Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier study moves
By James Lanaras, Bay City News Service
March 11, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and
Transportation District's board of directors voted this morning
to separate into two projects a two-year, $2 million engineering
and environmental study on the construction of a suicide deterrent
project on the bridge.
District spokeswoman Mary Currie said the vote was 14-2. Three
board members were absent.
The first project includes wind tunnel tests to determine structure
movement, stability and the integrity of suicide deterrent designs
with and without a median barrier on the span.
It is anticipated it would take four months to procure consultant
services for the first project, and six more months to complete
it once the contract is awarded. The first project would cost
$625,000. The design concepts are expected to include a net under
the bridge, a fence added to existing railing, and replacement
of the existing railing with a new structure, Currie said.
The first project also includes a review of suicide deterrent
studies done previously by the district and any studies that have
been done for barriers on other long-span suspension bridges.
The second project will consist of full preliminary engineering,
environmental and historical preservation studies, including a
cost estimate of the construction project.
Currie said the first project is critical to the second, saying
the first must produce "a usable work product that moves
the project forward and that will be useful when project two is
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has committed $1.6
million toward the $2 million study but 20 percent local matching
funds, or $400,000, are required. Currie said the district has
$143,600 in local matching funds so far and $256,400 is still
Marin County contributed $25,000 and the city and county of San
Francisco contributed $100,000. Private donors gave $18,600 through
the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California, which has lobbied
for a suicide barrier.
A board advisory committee last month approved proceeding with
a phased approach to the study on a physical barrier to prevent
people from jumping from the famous span.
The district's board of directors identified about a dozen criteria
for a suicide prevention system.
The suicide barrier must impede the ability of an individual
to jump from the bridge, must not cause safety or nuisance hazards
to sidewalk users, must not interfere with security on the bridge
and must have minimal visual and aesthetic impacts on the famous
span from which 1,218 people have leapt since 1937.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.