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Golden Gate 'Suicide Barrier' Install Begins

Thursday, August 2, 2018

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Work installing the new “suicide barrier,” aimed at discouraging bridge-jumpers, has begun in earnest on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, according to reports from local media in the city.

Suicide net rendering
Rendering courtesy of Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District

The net will consist of steel wires, about 5/32 of an inch thick, fastened to 8-inch-by-8-inch horizontal steel supports that will be cantilevered out from under the bridge.

The project officially kicked off with a ceremony last year, and fabrication of the stainless-steel netting and structural pieces began offsite in May. The Mercury News reports that crews have begun to bring materials onto the bridge overnight in recent weeks.

$142 Million Job

The job is being carried out by general contractor Shimmick/Danny’s Joint Venture, which won the job with a low bid of $142 million after a protracted planning and bidding period colored by steep cost increases. According to contract documents, the general contractor subcontracted coating work to F.D. Thomas, recently acquired by ASRC Industrial.

The original estimate for the job was $76 million, but in 2016 the low bid came in at nearly twice that, owing in part to changes made to the contract after the initial cost estimate was made. The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District said at the time that the original specification called for a type of steel only manufactured overseas; the spec was changed after discussions with the contractors to call for American-made stainless steel of a grade sufficient to stand up to the salt-spray environment around the bridge.

The net will consist of steel wires, about 5/32 of an inch thick, fastened to 8-inch-by-8-inch horizontal steel supports that will be cantilevered out from under the bridge. The plan to situate the net 20 feet down from the deck stems from the idea that a fall from that height will deter potential jumpers, as jumpers would likely sustain non-fatal injuries on impact with the net. Fines will likely be instituted as well, in order to discourage recreational jumping.

The net will be gray, in contrast with the bridge’s famous “International Orange” coloring, in order to blend with the water below.

The project is set for completion in early 2021.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Stainless steel

Comment from john lienert, (8/2/2018, 5:01 AM)

$142,000,000.oo ? Whatever happened to "natural selection" ?

Comment from Tony Rangus, (8/2/2018, 10:03 AM)

I guess I would be discouraged if I fell 20 feet & hit squarely on one of the 8 x 8 beams & lived. OUCH! Should be an interesting news story when someone jumps after the net is in place.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (8/2/2018, 11:31 AM)

Yup, cost increase for American steel...another example to add to the list, I guess. As for jumpers....if you can break the spontaneity of the attempt, chances are they will live (and adding some minor injury to the mix will slow them down too).

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/3/2018, 8:19 AM)

By my calculations, for the same price they could pay to have a mental health professional walking the bridge and talking down jumpers 24/7/365 for about 300 years. I doubt the net will last that long without significant maintenance refub/replacement.

Comment from Scott Youngs, (8/6/2018, 11:21 AM)

I just can't stop thinking that someone will jump, hit the netting and injure themselves, then sue the DOT and it will have to be removed... I hope otherwise, although I just can't get the thought out of my head.

Comment from Chuck Nizzi, (8/7/2018, 9:55 AM)

How much garbage will that net collect and have to be cleaned off? I mean garbage as in trash folks throw over the side.... not humans. And if it is such a good idea the new Stillwater Bridge bewteen MN and WI will want one too... or maybe we do not have as many folks here that want to take their own lives? The cost is way too much. And to rescue someone who jumped is now going to add even more cost. Cancel the contract before some worker installing the net falls and gets killed.... or decides to commit suicide at work.

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