Showing posts with label Aurora Bridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aurora Bridge. Show all posts

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seattle's Aurora Bridge, fenced at last

By Jack Brummet, Seattle Metro Editor & Mona Goldwater, Psychology Correspondent

A week ago today, Wash. Department of Transportation crews finished the nine foot safety barriers on the sides of the 167-foot high cantilever/truss Aurora Bridge (a/k/a The George Washington Memorial Bridge)that carries Highway 99 (formerly known as The Pacific Highway) across the Ship Canal.  Hallelujah!  We drove by and admired the work this weekend. 

The Aurora Bridge's height and easy pedestrian access have long made it a popular location for suicide jumpers.  In fact, the first person to leap to their death from the bridge did so while it was still under construction, in 1932.  It took us until 2006 to install six emergency phones and 18 signs to encourage people to seek help instead of jumping.  People even put up home-made stickers that asked people not to jump and call a suicide hotline instead.  Someone even posted their own number "call me!  I care about YOU!"

These fences are a beautiful thing, when you consider their potential.  If only a couple of people turn away a year, it is money well spent.  The Aurora Bridge is the No. 2 bridge for suicides in North America.  It was No. 3 until Toronto fenced their bridge. In fact, since they put up that fence, there have been no suicides.  This has happened at every bridge where they have installed fences.  That is goodness.  One week in 2009, three people jumped from the bridge, two of them "successfully." True, you will not stop someone determined to end themselves, but you will stop impulse jumpers and people who might reconsider.  One statistic we heard recently said that of all the people who came close to jumping, but turned back, 94% don't ever come close again.  If these fences buy the despondent two minutes to think, then, in our booklet, that's five million dollars well spent.   Seeing these fences go up makes our hearts sing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Aurora Bridge Is About To Acquire A Suicide Prevention Fence. Thank you WSDOT!

The Aurora Bridge is about to acquire a suicide barrier.  Hallelujah!  This makes me so happy.

The Aurora Bridge is the second most "popular" suicide site in the United States...right behind the Golden Gate Bridge.  230 people have killed themselves at the bridge since it was built.    Those "choose life" stickers on the light pole haven't really helped.  Thank you Seattle and Washington State for finally doing this.  From

Work to begin on Aurora's suicide prevention fence

Construction on a fence aimed at preventing people from jumping off Seattle's Aurora Bridge begins next week. Construction will begin Monday night and last four to six weeks until crews begin working during the day June-December. The noise is expected to be so loud that nearby residents have been offered industrial-strength earplugs.

According to a flier sent to neighbors, "You may hear tools such as wood saws, compressed air drills, generators, power wrenches and other construction equipment." However, the Washington State Department of Transportation said it's trying to reduce the nose by using portable noise shields on generators and use ambient back up alarms on equipment. Call the WSDOT if you need earplugs 206-267-6019

The 8-foot, 9-inch steel fence is designed to keep people from committing suicide by jumping from the 167-foot high span. The WSDOT said the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline finds the "use of bridge barriers is the most effective means of bridge prevention suicide" and the method has been successful on the Bloor Street Viaduct in Toronto, the Memorial Bridge in Augusta, the Colorado Street Brdige in Pasadena, the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington D.C., and the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England.

Crews will being installing the actual fence structure in late summer or early fall. They expect to finish the project in late 2010 or early next year.

The WSDOT said the original budget for the fence project was $8.1 million, but it was revised to $4.6 million. The project was funded through the gas tax.