Our mission is to prevent suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge and advocate for restricting access to all means of suicide.
Special Edition Newsletter
2019 Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Statistics Confirmed suicides January-Nov: 26
Unconfirmed suicides January-Nov: 2
Interventions January-Nov: 156
Suicides & interventions January-Nov: 184 Source: Golden Gate Bridge District
2018 Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Statistics Confirmed suicides during the year: 27
Unconfirmed suicides during the year: 4
Interventions during the year: 187
Suicides & interventions during the year: 218 Source: Golden Gate Bridge District
Breaking News: Net Delayed
This week we were informed, ahead of the press, of a substantial delay in construction of the suicide deterrent net on the Golden Gate Bridge. As our readers know, this is a complex project with many layers of design, review, engineering, permitting, funding, and contracting. All that took more than eight years after the net was approved, with the construction contract finally signed in January, 2017.
Once work was underway, Bridge District officials brought us and other suicide prevention advocates into meetings to update us on construction. This newsletter has reported on those meetings. Unfortunately, in the meeting this week we were told that there will be up to a 24-month delay in completion of the project, pushing the end date from 2021 to 2023.
Change in Contractor
Typically on projects like this, there are unanticipated delays due to weather, access to raw materials, or subcontractor performance. In this case we've been told that weather was considered and hasn't added to the delay. Likewise, there has been no shortage of materials for construction, and the sub-contracting fabricators—U.S. firms in Connecticut, Alabama, Missouri, and Oregon—have performed as required and are proud of their work so far.
Instead, the problem is with the prime contractor, involving how the bid for the project was developed and a series of internal management issues related to the sale of the original contractor (Shimmick Construction in Oakland), to a much larger firm (AECOM, based in Los Angeles). Subsequent leadership changes in the board and executive staff of AECOM have added to the problem.
The anger this is likely to generate among suicide prevention advocates is justified, and many may urge the construction contract to be voided and a new builder brought in to finish the job. That would delay the project even more, however. A two-year delay at this point is bad enough, but issuing proposals for a new contract, reviewing submissions, securing any additional funds that might be needed, awarding a new contract, and then bringing the next firm up to speed would add years to the timeline.
Obviously, this is beyond our control, but there are two things we can do. First, we can demand that the current contract be honored. It was executed in good faith, and should be binding for all parties. Second, we can remind everyone of the additional lives that will be lost with a 24-month delay. At an average of 30 suicides per year, that’s 60 more deaths, as symbolized by the shoes of jumpers in our traveling exhibit (right).
The Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful, but it has also has a dark history. We remain determined to end that dark history.