SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) — There is a dark duality about the Golden Gate Bridge. Majestic and macabre, the bridge is an architectural wonder that also happens to be a magnet for suicides.
It is the most-used suicide spot in the United States, second in the world.
“People come from all over the world to go onto this bridge,” said Sergeant Kevin Briggs, a retired police officer who used to patrol the Golden Gate. “Not just to sight-see, but also to take their life.”
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 jumped 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.