Workers are building an anti-suicide barrier that will be installed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio

Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Net Is Being Built

Jeffrey Schaub
May 17, 2019 - 7:36 am

RICHMOND — Officials for the Golden Gate Bridge announced they expect to complete the installation of a suicide deterrent system by January 2021. 

The barrier to discourage jumpers will be a net 3.5 miles long that will sit 20 feet beneath the span's sidewalks and extend 20 feet outwards to catch people who may try to end their lives. 

A 300-foot section of the net to train workers is in a Richmond construction yard. Soon, they will begin installing it beneath the landmark bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin county. 

Once the net is erected, if someone were to jump into it, they'll get hurt, but they won't die," said the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District General Manager Denis Mulligan on Thursday.

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"This is about saving lives," Mulligan said. "Anytime you can invest money and save about 30 lives a year, it's a wise move."

Where netting on other bridges has been installed, only once has there been a successful suicide attempt, Mulligan said. He also cited figures that 90% of people who unsuccessfully attempt to kill themselves do not try it again. 

"Having the net is very reassuring," said Dana Whithmer, whose 20-year-old son Matthew perished by suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge. "It's really good to know that people are taking suicide and suicide prevention seriously, that the cost of this is nothing when compared to life."