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Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco Attraction Will Get $76 Million Suicide Barrier

First Posted: Jun 28, 2014 06:08 PM EDT

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is one of America's biggest attractions, but it has a darker side: It is also one of the country's most popular places for people to jump to their deaths.

For decades, people have been pushing for a barrier to help prevent suicide attempts, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. And on Friday, the board of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District unanimously approved a $76 million plan to install steel-cable nets below the edges of the bridge, the Chronicle reported. The nets are intended to discourage people from jumping and to catch them if they do.

Bridge Rail Foundation records show at least 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge, including 46 in 2013, according to the Chronicle.

"People come from all over the world to go onto this bridge," retired police officer Kevin Briggs, who formerly patrolled the bridge, told CNN. "Not just to sight-see, but also to take their life."

The proposed steel nets would extend 20 feet away from the 1.7-mile bridge, according to CNN. The federal government will contribute $50 million to the project, with state and local sources funding the rest.

"Where nets have been erected as suicide barriers, they've proven to be 100 percent effective thus far," transportation district CEO and General Manager Denis Mulligan told CNN. "Suicidal people have stopped jumping at those locations."

Those locations include the Clifton Suspension Bridge in England and the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, D.C., CNN said.

"Apparently suicide individuals don't want to hurt themselves; they want to die," Mulligan told CNN. "So where nets have been erected, people stop jumping."

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