Construction has reportedly begun on a stainless steel wire net that will help prevent suicides on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the world’s leading spot for suicides.
“The hope is that these suicides will go down to zero,” once the nets are completed in 2012, Denis Mulligan, general manager of the bridge district, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The nets will reportedly span the length of seven football fields, or 385,000 square feet, and will be hung 20 feet below the bridge’s public walkway. It will be painted the same color as the bridge to camouflage it.
Bridge officials have reportedly nearly 1,700 suicides since the Golden Gate Bridge first opened in 1937. This figure includes 14 deaths so far this year.
In June 2014, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District board of directors voted unanimously to approve the $76 million “safety net,” which has been on track for full installment starting this year. As expected, the costs went much higher.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “For at least the next two years, crews will toil throughout the night to build a coarse web of marine cable beneath the Art Deco span that is both an international symbol for engineering beauty and a magnet for suicides.”
In October, five new officers were added to the bridge’s patrol in hopes of preventing more suicides. Breitbart News reported in 2016 that the officers reportedly stopped “an average of 52 people a year” from jumping to their deaths from 2000-2005 and an average of 73 a year “between 2006 and 2010.”
There was a long debate over whether the installment of a suicide barrier would be a good investment of taxpayer dollars.
“I think if a person’s going to choose to commit suicide, then they’re going to find a way to commit suicide, and you’re not going to be able to stop them,” visitor Scott Stewart told local Fox News affiliate in San Francisco KTVU in 2014. “And so spending that amount of money in that way is basically, in my opinion, a waste of money.”
Survivors of suicide disagreed. Breitbart News reported: “Kevin Hines, 32, who miraculously survived his botched suicide attempt in 2000 when he tried to jump off the bridge, said he had felt ‘instant regret’ upon jumping and that the barrier will act as an important suicide deterrent.” Hines told the Sacramento Bee, “Not one more soul, not one more soul will be lost to that bridge.”