Final EIR report released on GG bridge suicide barrier

January 22, 2010 7:46:37 PM PST
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District today released the final environmental impact report on a proposed $50 million net system under the bridge to impede suicides.

The net system was among several suicide barrier options that included higher fencing along the bridge's existing 4-foot railing and a no-build alternative. The net system, known as Alternative 3, is the district's preferred option.

The district's board of directors is scheduled to approve the environmental report and the net project at its Feb. 12 meeting.

The California Department of Transportation on Tuesday found the net system will have no significant impact on the human environment.

Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie said the district still must find money for the project. The district has ruled out raising tolls to pay for it and will rely on federal and private funding, Currie said. It will take up to three years to install the net system after funding is found.

The net will be 20 feet below the sidewalk on the bridge and would extend 20 feet horizontally from it. The support system would be painted International Orange to match the bridge but the stainless steel netting itself will not be painted or coated.

The net system also was refined after consultations with the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Currie said.

There will be no net below 300 feet of the North Anchorage Housing, or 3 percent of the 1.7-mile span. Instead, there will be an 8-foot vertical barrier, painted International Orange, atop an existing 4-foot concrete wall.

The vertical barrier will be made of rods a half-inch in diameter spaced 6-and-half inches apart.

Construction of the net will start on the west side of the bridge. Public access to the bridge will be maintained during construction, the report states. Work on the east and west sidewalks will occur during weekday hours when the sidewalks are closed to the public.

Currie said there will be no formal public comment period on the final environmental impact report but comments can be set by e-mail to suicidebarrier@goldengate.org.

The release of the report coincides with one issued Thursday by Marin County Coroner Ken Holmes, a suicide barrier advocate.

Holmes said 31 people committed suicide from the bridge last year, four less than in 2008, and more than 1,300 have done so in the past 72 years.


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