Barrier to prevent suicides on Natchez Trace Bridge in Williamson County

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The National Park Service is working on an initiative to prevent further suicides on a bridge in Williamson County, and it’s soliciting public input on a new design. design that they believe will help keep everyone safe.

The Natchez Trace Bridge, a famous double arch bridge that spans Highway 96 in Williamson County, is known not only for its beautiful architecture but also for the numerous suicides that have occurred over the years. According to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, as of 2018, 32 people committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.

National Park Service engineers are working towards installing a permanent fence in the hope that the addition could act as a future suicide prevention measure. Park Services is deciding between three designs, an angled design, a slight curve, or a straight top barrier. Doug Neighbor, Director of Natchez Parkway says safety and aesthetics both play an important role in long-term design decisions.

“Suicide safety and prevention is the main thing that we design and when it’s included the designs really differ in aesthetics and how it looks on an award winning bridge. , one of which is a presidential award,” Neighbor said.

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This week, the public began commenting on designs on the park services website that remind those in the community that the fence’s goal remains to prevent suicides and suicide attempts. With that in mind, the park service will erect a temporary fence consisting of several fences until the permanent fence is ready to operate in 2024.

“The park service started looking at suicide prevention measures in 2010 with the installation of some signage and then, I think in 2019, we installed some call boxes and you know Well, the suicides continue,” Neighbor said, “So this next step is to put in a system of deterrence and hopefully this will stop. ”

The temporary fence will be raised in the coming months.

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To comment on designs or projects click here. You can also submit your comments in writing. The comment period will remain open for a month. Supervisors told News 2 that supply chain issues have affected the schedule for permanent fence construction but that 2024 remains the target.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provide a toll-free 24/7 hotline to anyone experiencing a suicide crisis or emotional distress. If you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255. Barrier to prevent suicides on Natchez Trace Bridge in Williamson County

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