On Friday, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors unanimously approved $76 million in funding to erect a 20-foot-wide steel net — extending out from each side of the 1.7-mile span — to deter would-be jumpers. The federal government will cover $50 million of the cost; the rest will come from state and local sources. Last year, 46 people died after jumping off the Golden Gate, according to the Bridge Rail Foundation, an organization dedicated to stopping suicides from the bridge. The organization estimates that more than 1,600 people have leapt to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. “Where nets have been erected as suicide barriers they’ve proven to be 100% effective thus far,” said Denis Mulligan, CEO and general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, which presented the proposal to the board. “Suicidal people have stopped jumping at those locations.”
Some opposed the nets for many years, saying the addition would harm the bridge’s beauty.