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

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
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)
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during its construction. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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)
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)
circa 1943: A warship approaches the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Catwalk start on S.F. side, Alcatraz Island with Kerkeley and Oakland seen in background. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
Golden Gate Bridge (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) south tower of Golden Gate Bridge under construction. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Photo shows the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco under construction. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) The China Clipper is shown flying over the incomplete Golden Gate Bridge. (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
Setting roadbed sections in the fog during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, October 29, 1936. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 23: Golden Gate Bridge Under Construction At San Francisco In California-Usa On October 23Rd 1935 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
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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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