San Francisco

Possible Suicide Deterrents for Coronado Bridge Introduced

Eleven people have jumped off the bridge this year--there were 19 last year

A continued effort is underway to prevent suicides off the Coronado Bay Bridge.

On Thursday night, a meeting was packed as Caltrans went over possible suicide deterrents.

Chuck Leek said he is one of many people who have lost a loved one on the Coronado Bridge. Last October, his son committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.

"We can't keep letting people have such easy access to a means to kill themselves. Something has to happen to change it. Please, please change it," Leek said in front of the crowd.

The 200-foot bridge has a guardrail that's just 34-inches tall. Many others agree with Leek that this makes it too easy for someone to jump off.

"If there was something that had caused a pause or had prevented him from easy access to this dreadful fall that he took, he would still be here, and I know that," Leek said.

City leaders said it's not just the aftermath of suicide that's a major problem. Approximately 90,000 cars travel the bridge each day.

Last year, the bridge was shut down 35 times because of attempted suicide.

"The bridge is shut down for hours, disrupting traffic throughout our entire region. It is time for a solution," said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey.

Caltrans presented possible alternatives, like a curved glass panel barrier used in New Zealand or a mesh barrier in Santa Barbara. Another option is a cable grid net system, like the one on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

"If this was done prior to last October 25, my son would probably still be here," Leek added.

Eleven people have jumped off the bridge this year. Nineteen incidents were recorded in 2016.

The study conducted by Caltrans will continue until the spring of next year. The next steps will be taking a look at environmental impacts and funding allocation.

Now to new developments in the effort to prevent suicides off the Coronado Bridge.
Tonight, it was a packed house as Caltrans went over possible suicide deterrant
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