SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Golden Gate Bridge officials are set to begin looking for a construction firm for a suicide barrier on the landmark span, a newspaper reported.
The project is scheduled to go out to bid Tuesday, and a construction firm could be selected as soon as March. Preliminary work could start within weeks of the selection. The entire project is expected to take more than three years to complete at an estimated cost of $76 million.
The bridge district’s board approved a deal Friday with the National Park Service that allows builders to store material and equipment on park land during construction.
The bridge district needed the deal because the park service controls the land at the bridge.
More than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. Most jumpers suffer a grisly death, with massive internal injuries, broken bones and skull fractures. Some die from internal bleeding. Others drown.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Assistant Superintendent Aaron Roth said “tragedy and loss” have been part of the national park at the Golden Gate for too long.
“We look forward to a future where the beauty and inspiration of this beautiful place are not overshadowed by these tragic losses and deep sorrow,” he said.
Talk of installing a suicide barrier began in the 1950s with the first serious consideration made in the 1970s, when 18 designs were considered and then dismissed. A coalition of agencies is paying for the project.
The design for the barrier calls for stainless-steel cable nets reaching out 20 feet from the bridge and 20 feet below the span. The cables will slightly collapse to absorb a person, making it difficult to get out until help arrives.