Building Golden Gate rescue training net to cost $824,000

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California Construction News staff writer

As construction continues on the Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Deterrent System, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has approved spending another $824,000 to construct a rescue training net at the Southern Marin Fire District facility in Mill Valley.

The Suicide Deterrent System, also known as the Safety Net, construction was first approved in 2014, but the project has been delayed two years because of staff turnover and changes with the lead contractor.

Construction is now expected to be completed in November and the cost of the project has jumped to $215 million from the original $86 million budget.

On average, at least 30 people die from suicide at the site each year. Hundreds more are stopped  through efforts of the Golden Gate Bridge District Patrol, California Highway Patrol, other law enforcement, and citizen intervention. Ultimately, a physical barrier is needed to stop this tragedy.

Engineers designed the net to minimize impacts to Bridge views and appearance. It’s also been designed to minimize interference with the daily operations and maintenance of this iconic structure. You have to look carefully to see the grey steel net design in the picture above.

The net will be placed 20 feet below the sidewalk, extending 20 feet out from the bridge. This design was chosen through a public process which solicited input from the community. The selected design allows open, scenic vistas to remain intact, while preventing anyone from easily jumping to the water below.

The net will have minimal impacts to the architecture of the structure, but there are some necessary changes with the introduction of this new element.  New steel support struts are tube sections that will be painted the same International Orange color of the bridge.  The support struts attach to the vertical members of the bridge stiffening truss and are spaced every 50 feet, the same spacing as the suspension bridge suspender ropes. After the support struts are installed, a horizontal stainless steel wire rope net will be stretched across those support struts.

Net construction began in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2023.

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