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Barrier reducing Golden Gate Bridge suicides

The Golden Gate Bridge
Sunni Khalid
The Golden Gate Bridge

According to statistics released in July from the Bridge Rail Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group that has campaigned for a barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge since 2006, there have been five confirmed suicide jumps from the bridge this year through June, compared with 22 from all of last year.

Between 2000 and 2019, the bridge averaged between 30 and 40 suicides per year. The first occurred in 1937, shortly after the iconic bridge opened. The foundation estimates that 1,800 people have leapt from the bridge to their deaths.

Bridge Rail Foundation co-founder David Hull said: "It's been a long hard haul, and I'm delighted that the net is going forward and that suicides have decreased."

Construction on the suicide prevention barrier -- a horizontal net of steel cables that runs 20 feet below the walkways on both sides of the bridge -- began in 2017 and is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

The net, made of stainless steel, is designed not for a cushy landing but rather to inflict a painful, though non-lethal, injury on a jumper.

The net is now over 75 percent complete, and the project cost to date is about $217 million – about three-times the original estimate, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.