People jumping off bridges as a way to take their own life has been happening since the beginning of bridges, and San Francisco is making a step to prevent more from happening. In 2016, right around 200 people tried jumping off the bridge in effort to take their own lives, 40 of them succeeded in their attempt.
The iconic structure is getting a $200 million upgrade in the form of a steel net. It will hang under the bridge, and span about 20 feet outward on both sides. It’s purpose is to literally catch anyone who may jump or fall. The beginning of construction started yesterday (Thursday, 4/13/17), and a ceremony was held in remembrance of those who have jumped from the bridge in the past.
The bridge opened 80 years ago in 1937, and talks of a physical barrier to prevent jumping have been around since the ’40s. The idea of a net has finally gotten approved, researched and planned, and while construction is already starting, it won’t be complete until 2021 at a final estimate $124 million higher than the initial $76 million they thought it would take. It’s an “experimental” design, that’s why the cost is so much higher, they’re finding they have to deal with construction obstacles including the weather and wind, and the fact they have to cover over a mile and a half.
They net will be made out of stainless steel, and if you think it might hurt to fall more than 20 feet onto steel – you’re right. The net is designed to catch people, but they may still suffer from broken bones or other injuries due to the fall. But it won’t be a 220-foot fall to a death in cold water.