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Golden Gate Bridge Board Approves Funding For Suicide Barrier

A view of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
A view of the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge's board of directors approved $76 million in funding to install a net system that would prevent people from committing suicide by jumping off the bridge.

The Associated Press reports the money will come from a combination of bridge tolls and federal and state coffers. The wire service adds:

"A tearful Dana Barks of Napa, who lost his son, Donovan, to suicide on the bridge in 2008, said after the vote that he was almost speechless. 'A lot of people have done so much incredible work to get this accomplished,' he said.

"He rose from his knees and shared a tearful embrace with Sue Story of Rocklin, whose son Jacob jumped off the bridge in 2010.

" 'We did it!' Story said. 'It's no longer the Bridge of Death anymore.' "

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that since the bridge opened in 1937, at least 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths. A record 46 committed suicide last year.

The Chronicle adds:

"After reading a series of Chronicle stories about bridge suicides in the 1970s, Roger Grimes started campaigning for a barrier, walking regularly on the bridge with a sign reading, 'Please care: support a suicide barrier,' as well as attending numerous meetings.

"While he was often discouraged by the lack of support, he said after the vote, 'I knew someday it would happen. It was so wrong. It had to happen.'

"Although the funding is lined up and the net is mostly designed, it will take about three years before it is built and installed, said Denis Mulligan, bridge district general manager."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.