California's Golden Gate Bridge has a big problem that California is investing $76 million in steel cables to solve

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The Building of the Golden Gate Bridge

More than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths off the 220-foot-tall Golden Gate Bridge, and the state of California has finally had enough.

On Friday, the bridge's board took a significant step forward in their plans to build a suicide barrier that, they hope, will put a stop to the tragedy.

The board and the National Park Service approved a deal that will allow construction builders to store their materials on park lands.

Click through to see more construction on the Golden Gate Bridge:

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California's Golden Gate Bridge has a big problem that California is investing $76 million in steel cables to solve
The Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, the longest suspension bridge in the world was opened on May 27, 1937. A view taken from one of the towers of pedestrians swarming across the Golden Gate Bridge immediately after the opening. (AP Photo)
Picture dated October 1935 of the Golden Gate bridge, in the San Francisco Bay, during its construction. Construction began on 05 January 1933 and the bridge was inaugurated 27 May 1937 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who pushed a button in Washington, DC, signaling the official start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge. Idea of the engineer Joseph Strauss, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)
circa 1935: One of the stanchions erected in the building of the Golden Gate bridge, connecting Marin and San Francisco, casts a shadow over houses at its foot. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
circa 1936: The twin towers of the bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait in California which will support a roadway between San Francisco and Marin County. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
Workers complete the catwalks for the Golden Gate Bridge, spanning the Golden Gate Strait, prior to spinning the bridge cables during construction in San Francisco, Ca., Oct. 25, 1935. (AP Photo)
Preparations for spinning the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge between Marin Country and San Francisco occupied crews October 10, 1935 . They were busy erecting storm cable system, telephone system and various units of the spinning equipment for the $35,000,000 structure. The cable, strectching from the tower in the foreground to the Marin Country or North side, will be 36 1/2 inches in diame. The Catwalks with some of the storm cables is shown. (AP Photo)
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during its construction. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Workers install the first section of a huge safety net, at a cost of $98,000, that will extend from shore to shore beneath the Golden Gate Bridge span during construction of the bridge in San Francisco, Ca., Sept. 2, 1935. (AP Photo)
circa 1936: The 'Santa Clara' a ferry belonging to the Southern Pacific line sails under the first structures of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)
Chief Engineer of National Parks Frank Kettredge with his chief counsel George H Harlan on the Golden Gate suspension bridge in San Francisco. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
March 1937: The base of the south pier, one of the pillars supporting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
The U.S. Navy joined with San Francisco in celebration of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, May 30, 1937. A naval vessel had just passed under the world's longest suspension span, which crosses the famed entrance to San Francisco Bay. (AP Photo)
Picture dated 1950's of the Golden Gate bridge, in the San Francisco Bay. Construction began on 05 January 1933 and the bridge was inaugurated 27 May 1937 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who pushed a button in Washington, DC, signaling the official start of vehicle traffic over the Bridge. Idea of the engineer Joseph Strauss, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, center, wears a steel helmet during an inspection tour of the San Francisco tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, Ca., March 25, 1935. Perkins, who is the first female cabinet officer in American history, talks with G.A. McClain, bridge superintendent, left, and S.E. Stanley, rivet foreman. (AP Photo)
circa 1943: A warship approaches the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
File - In this May 27, 1937 file photo, military biplanes fly between the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge as pedestrians walk across the span during opening ceremonies in San Francisco. The bridge was heralded as an engineering marvel when it opened in 1937. It was the world's longest suspension span and had been built across a strait that critics said was too treacherous to be bridged. But as the iconic span approaches its 75th anniversary, the engineers who have overseen it all these years say keeping it up and open has been a feat unto itself. (AP Photo, File)
More than 200,000 people were estimated to have walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, world's longest suspension bridge, when it opened to the public, May 27, 1937, in San Francisco. This is an aerial view as the crowd arrived at the tollhouse. (AP Photo)
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Without this deal, the barrier could not have been built because the National Park Service controls the land at the bridge, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The suicide barrier will consist of a giant net that extends 20 feet below and 20 feet out from the pedestrian-friendly half of the bridge. The net will feature stainless-steel cables that will "absorb" any person who falls into them, making it difficult to escape until help arrives, the Associated Press reports.

The board approved construction late last year and recently announced that the project will go out to bid this Tuesday. Once construction begins, the board anticipates that the project will take about three years to complete.

Discussions about a suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge stretch back to the 1950s, but until now, nothing has been done.

"For too long tragedy and loss has been part of the national park at the Golden Gate," Aaron Roth, who is the assistant superintendent at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, told the Marin Independent Journal. "We look forward to a future where the beauty and inspiration of this beautiful place are not overshadowed by these tragic losses and deep sorrow."

Ultimately, the net is supposed to prevent jumpers from falling to their death. However, the bridge board hopes that just the presence of the net will work as a deterrent, preventing jumps altogether.

And according to a scientific paper published last month in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, the authors say such deterrence is a likely outcome.

The researchers dove into the scientific literature and dug up different studies that measured how effective different types of suicidal prevention were, such as restricting access to high-risk areas, adding suicide barriers, and signs with a phone number people can use to call for help.

From their work, the researchers found that suicide barriers were, indeed, effective — they can reduce the number of suicides by more than 90% in high-risk locations, reports Rachel Gross at Slate. But if you want to be especially thorough, then you should combine the three main forms of suicide prevention:

  • Restrict access to high-risk areas
  • Include signs with information about seeking help
  • Establish suicide barriers

Some are opposed to the Golden Gate Bridge's new project, suggesting that people will find other ways to commit suicide. However, the net's role for both prevention and deterrence could encourage potential jumpers to seek help, the LA Times reports.

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