Today, the Businessweek website reported that $76 million has been approved to erect a suicide barrier on the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge’s 19-member board voted to approve the funding. Currently, the bridge is the most used suicide location in America. The bridge is nearly two miles long and links San Francisco to Marin County. Construction of the bridge began in January of 1933. Builders completed the bridge in 1937
The bridge is considered one of the most beautiful and photographed bridges in the world. The American Society of Civil Engineers also declared the bridge as one of the Wonders of the Modern World. Unfortunately, the bridge has also attracted many suicide victims. Author John Bateson wrote a book about the bridge’s numerous suicides in his book titled “The Final Leap.” The University of California Press published the book. Bateson is a former executive director for a suicide prevention center in San Francisco. The book’s website states it is the first book written about the bridge’s suicides.
The book’s website reports more than 1,600 people have died after jumping from the bridge since 1937. Last year, 46 fell to their death from the bridge, in 2012 33 died, and in 2011, 37 people died. The bridge averages roughly one suicide per week. Although, it is confirmed that at least 1,600 have died after jumping from the bridge, no one knows how many deaths are unconfirmed. The numbers would be higher if not for law enforcement intervention or those who changed their minds.
According to the official Golden Gate Bridge website, monies will be allocated to the project as follows:
- $22 million from the federal Local Highway Bridge Program (HBP)
- $27 million from the federal Surface Transportation Program (STP)
- $7 million from the California Mental Health Service Act Funds; and
- $20 million from District reserves