SAN FRANCISCO --A big step was taken with the goal of saving lives at the Golden Gate Bridge as a ceremony held on Thursday marked the beginning of work on a suicide barrier.
Families of suicide victims have urged the officials to install a barrier to prevent deaths on the bridge.
"Where nets have been erected they've been incredibly effective. Nets have been installed on many bridges throughout the world over the last two decades and there's only been one fatality at one of those installations," Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District General Manager Denis Mulligan said.
Kevin Hines, who is bi-polar, was one of the few to survive after voices in his head shouted at him to jump.
"At the millisecond my hands left that rail I had an instant reaction because the thought of suicide is different from the action," Hines said.
The stainless steel net will be located about 20 feet below the bridge's sidewalk and will span 1.7 miles of the roadway on each side of the bridge, extending 20 feet out over the water.
It will cost more than $200 million to install the stainless steel netting, and bridge officials expect the project to be finished by early 2021.
While the barrier is expected to help prevent suicides, it won't be a gentle experience.
"We would expect it will break bones. They will be hurt," said Priya Clemens with the Golden Gate Bridge District.