SAVING LIVES AT THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Each year, too many people come to the Golden Gate Bridge to harm themselves.
Young and old, they come from around the world and around the corner.
We're building a Suicide Deterrent System to end that tragedy.
The Suicide Deterrent System, also known as the SDS, is being constructed to keep people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
On average, 30 people or more die from suicide here each year. Hundreds more are stopped from harming themselves through the efforts of the Golden Gate Bridge District Patrol, California Highway Patrol, other law enforcement, and citizen intervention. Ultimately, a physical barrier is needed to stop this tragedy.
Engineers designed the Net to minimize impacts to Bridge views and appearance. It's also been designed to minimize interference with the daily operations and maintenance of this iconic structure. You have to look carefully to see the gray steel net design in the picture above.
The Net will be placed 20 feet below the sidewalk, extending 20 feet out from the Bridge. This design was chosen through a public process which solicited input from the community. The selected design allows open, scenic vistas to remain intact, while preventing anyone from easily jumping to the water below.
The Net will have minimal impacts to the architecture of the structure, but there are some necessary changes with the introduction of this new element. The Net’s new steel support struts are tube sections that will be painted the same International Orange color of the Bridge. The support struts attach to the vertical members of the Bridge stiffening truss and are spaced every 50 feet, the same spacing as the Suspension Bridge suspender ropes. After the support struts are installed, a horizontal stainless steel wire rope net will be stretched across those support struts.
The color and spacing of the support struts are designed to allow the new members to blend into the existing structure in order to minimize the visual impact of this new element. These additions will slightly diminish the integrity of the historic features, as the Net was not part of the original design.
Contractors (AECOM (legacy Shimmick) and Danny's Joint Venture) began working on the Net in 2017. Construction of the full Net is expected to be completed in 2023.
The SDS Net will be a hard metal platform located two stories below the sidewalk. Jumping into the Net will result in significant bruises, sprains and possibly broken bones.
While this project is unique due to its vast scale and maritime location, it is modeled on similar systems, which have been installed in various locations around the world for almost two decades. They have proven to be exceptionally effective deterrents to suicide.
The 1978 Seiden study at the Golden Gate Bridge showed that 90 percent of those stopped from jumping did not later die by suicide or other violent means. A Harvard School of Public Health article reviewing numerous studies showed more broadly that “Nine out of ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die by suicide at a later date.”
On April 13, 2017, The Golden Gate Bridge District held a ceremony marking the commencement of the Suicide Deterrent System. This day was the result of collaboration between the families who have lost loved ones, the staff of the Bridge District, and the legislators who created a funding path for this vital project.
The total project cost is $211 million, which includes construction ($204 million), design and environmental expenses. Funding came from multiple sources. $74 million was provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, $70 million by California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), $60 million through Golden Gate Bridge District revenue, $7 million by State of California Mental Health Funds via State Budget (Prop 63), and $400 thousand from individual and foundation donations.
Watch the highlights video of the ceremony by clicking here.
The Golden Gate Bridge will have overnight lane closures on weeknights through 2021. The closures will provide safe space for workers to lower construction materials under the roadway to build the Suicide Deterrent System. At least one lane will remain open in both directions during overnight closures.
Lanes are scheduled to close from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 a.m. Saturday for the next three years, excluding holidays. Electronic traffic signs will be posted nightly to alert drivers of the lane closures and regular traffic alerts will be posted to www.goldengate.org.
Drivers should slow down around construction areas and may experience traffic delays during construction hours.