SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Golden Gate Bridge officials on Friday approved a $76 million funding package for a net system that would prevent people from jumping to their deaths.
More than 1,600 people have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened. The newly funded suicide prevention barrier will run the length of the bridge -- 3.4 miles of steel net strong enough to save lives.
Those who have lost loved ones to suicide on the bridge packed the board room, many clutching photos of their spouses, children and friends. Their stories reveal the intimate details about suicide's devastating ripple effect.
They say the Golden Gate Bridge suicide net would give those in desperate situations a second chance.
Friday, the Golden Gate Bridge District agreed.
"It's not every day you have the opportunity to save a life, and it's almost never you have the opportunity to save many lives," Director Janet Reilly said.
Detractors argued, even with a net, suicidal people would find some other way to take their lives.
Dan Noyes and the ABC7 News I-Team have been reporting on this issue for years and spoke to bridge district General Manager Denis Mulligan about that earlier this week.
Dan Noyes: "So you're saying that people seem to fixate on the Golden Gate, if they can't commit suicide there, perhaps they won't."
Denis Mulligan: "That's what many researchers have studied, that's what they've concluded."
After years of discussion and delays, the decision to approve a $76 million funding plan was decided in a unanimous vote.
Kevin Hines miraculously survived his suicide attempt after jumping off the structure in 2000 at age 19. During a news conference Thursday, Hines said he felt "instant regret" when he jumped and believes a net will deter suicidal people.
"Not one more soul, not one more soul will be lost to that bridge," said Hines, 32.
The bidding process is expected to begin later this year with construction starting next year. The net should be installed by 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.