Golden Gate Bridge seeks suicide barrier bids

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has begun seeking bids for a suicide deterrent net project on the famous span.

The bid process will take several months to complete and bids will be accepted starting in January, district spokeswoman Priya David Clemens said.

It’s expected a bid will be awarded in the spring of 2016 after approval by Caltrans, the Federal Highway Administration and the bridge district’s Board of Directors, Clemens said.

The suicide deterrent consists of a long stainless steel durable net located 20 feet below the Bridge sidewalk along both sides of the bridge.

Anyone who jumps from the bridge will receive significant injury equivalent to falling two stories onto a steel platform, Clemens said. The net and its supports will be manufactured off-site, and installation, starting on the east side of the Bridge, is scheduled to begin in late 2017.

The project is expected to take up to four years.

The district estimates the project will cost at least $76 million, $20 million of it from the district’s reserve funding. Federal funding provides $49 million and state funding is $7 million.

“We are all eager to put this deterrent in place and diminish future tragedy from suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge,” the district’s Chief Engineer Ewa Bauer said.

The district said 46 people died in 2013 from jumping off the Bridge, the highest annual total ever.

An estimated 1,700 people have jumped to their death since the Bridge opened in 1937, according to the book The Final Leap by John Bateson.