Despite a much higher than expected projected cost, Golden Gate Bridge officials said this week that they intend to move forward with plans to construct a steel suicide-prevention net under the iconic bridge. The Chronicle reports that officials received bids from two separate construction companies, and that both were well above what they thought the project would cost.
The projected cost to build the net has grown since the idea was first conceived — from $25 million to $50 million back in 2008, to the more recent estimate of $76 million. That latest figure was arrived at by consultants, and has factored into bridge officials planning for the net. Everyone involved was likely shocked when the actual bids came in.
According to the Chronicle, two bids were received — one for $142 million and the other for $174 million. Officials had hoped to have the net complete by 2019, but these new numbers may delay that as more funding is secured. However, if the timeline is in question, the net still seems like a sure thing.
“Unfortunately, we continue to have suicides on the bridge," said bridge spokesperson Priya Clemens. "There were 33 last year. It’s just not acceptable to let that continue."
The Mercury News reports that the design involves steel nets emanating 20 feet out from the edge of the bridge. They are made to collapse around a person, making it difficult to then climb to the edge of.
Individuals jumping from the bridge has been a problem since it was opened to traffic in 1937 — more than 2,000 are believed to have died after doing so.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.