11 Oct 2008

Netting to prevent suicides on famous bridge

6:28 pm on 11 October 2008

Netting will be installed on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent people throwing themselves off.

The California panel that oversees the famous span voted on Friday to install the netting to catch would-be suicides.

The 1,280-metre long suspension bridge, which crosses the entrance to San Francisco Bay, is a tourist magnet that also draws people trying to end their lives.

There were 39 confirmed suicides from the bridge in 2007, with seven unconfirmed cases, and 19 confirmed so far this year, bridge officials said.

The netting would be set 6 metres below the sidewalk and extend out 20 feet from the bridge. Officials estimate the barrier will cost $US40-$50 million.

A suicide barrier beneath the link between San Francisco and Marin County has been debated since the 1970s, said Mary Currie, a spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.