Preventative Measures

Suicide barrier controversy envelops Golden Gate Bridge

Transportation West
Controversy has erupted over a suicide barrier to be built on the Golden Gate Bridge, shown here with a rendering of the barrier net projecting along the edge of the bridge's deck. (Courtesy Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District)
Controversy has erupted over a suicide barrier to be built on the Golden Gate Bridge, shown here with a rendering of the barrier net projecting along the edge of the bridge's deck. (Courtesy Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District)

Forbes recently reported on the controversy surrounding a suicide barrier that will be installed on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. The barrier is projected to cost $211 million of public money, which some say is too high, while others say that the landmark’s iconic appearance should not be changed.

Rendering of suicide deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge looking north

Rendering of suicide deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge looking north (Courtesy Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District)

The barrier will consist of a net extending 20 feet horizontally out from the bridge’s deck, held up by steel members painted the same color as the bridge’s main structure. The net will be about 20 feet below the bridge deck’s top surface, so anyone falling onto it would still sustain injuries, but much less severe ones than they would receive from a fall to the water below.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, the authority responsible for overseeing the barrier’s construction, refers to the net as a “deterrent,” and says that similar structures have been successful in hindering suicides related to other structures around the world.

According to Forbes, the bridge is the second most popular suicide destination in the world, and the LA Times has reported that dozens of people die from jumping off the structure every year.

Forbes also reported that the $211 million bill is almost three times the original $76 million estimated price for the project.

The barrier should be in place in 2021.

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