Golden Gate Bridge ‘suicide net’ could cost $400 million

A net designed to prevent suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge could cost nearly $400 million – double the amount originally budgeted for the project, according to the two construction companies responsible for the project.

On Monday, both companies filed a motion asking to sue the span’s governing entity — the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District — for damages and breach of contract. The contractors claim the district has withheld information about the bridge’s deterioration and other issues, leading to increased construction costs and project delays.

The application is part of a lawsuit between Shimmick Construction Co. and Danny’s Construction Co. and a subcontractor.

“The district withheld important information during the proposal phase of the project, including extensive bridge degradation that impacted the project [the construction companies’] ability to carry out the work as planned by the district,” the companies’ attorneys said in the complaint.

“Rather than acknowledging its own mistakes, the district is trying to hold (the companies) hostage and complete the work without a price adjustment,” the attorneys said. “In other words, the district wants to pay just $142 million for a project that will cost well over $398 million because of the district’s mistakes.”

District officials say they have been unhappy with the progress of the networks and have spoken out about the condition of the bridge.

“We are deeply frustrated by the slow pace of Shimmick construction and the multiple delays in building the suicide barrier,” Public Affairs Director Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz said in a statement to the Associated Press. “The district has been transparent about the condition of the shimmicked bridge throughout the project.”

Nearly 30 people die on the bridge each year, and safety attorneys had been calling for a preventative apparatus for years before Bay Area officials approved the project in 2014 at a cost of $76 million.

Construction of the Golden Gate Suicide Deterrent Net System began in 2018. The project would install steel netting along the 1.6-mile span that is one of California’s most recognizable landmarks.

Earlier this year, officials from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation Districts told the Times that the cost of the project had increased to $206.7 million.

By March, 75% of the network had been completed but only 5% had been installed, county officials said.

Paul Muller, president of the nonprofit Bridge Rail Foundation, which campaigned for the networks, told the AP the delays were taking lives. Golden Gate Bridge ‘suicide net’ could cost $400 million

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