SAN FRANCISCO (CBS NEWS) — Work officially began Thursday on a net under the Golden Gate Bridge intended to prevent and deter the dozens of suicides that take place at the iconic landmark each year, CBS San Francisco reported.
More than 1,500 people are thought to have died there over the bridge’s 80-year lifespan.
The stainless steel net, located about 20 feet below the bridge’s sidewalk, will span 1.7 miles of roadway on each side of the bridge and extend 20 feet out over the water.
It will be built over a period of four years, at a cost of just over $200 million drawn from a mix of federal, state and local sources.
At a ceremony today to mark the start of the project, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that during the long process of obtaining the funding for the project, people would ask her, “isn’t that a lot of money for a net?”
“And we would say no, it’s not a lot of money for a life, for all of these lives,” Pelosi said.
“Together we are acting on a deep moral imperative to save lives wherever we can,” Pelosi said.
The scenic bridge has proven to have a deadly allure over the years.
In 2016 alone, 39 people died by suicide there. Bridge patrol officers also conducted 184 successful interventions in 2016 to keep people from harming themselves.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor, shared her own personal experience with a Golden Gate Bridge suicide, when radio talk show host and political activist Duane Garrett, who had worked on her campaigns, took his own life there in 1995.