California News

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


A net designed to prevent Golden Gate Bridge suicides could cost nearly $400 million, double what was originally estimated for the project, according to the two construction companies in charge of the project.

On Monday, the two companies filed a motion asking that they may sue the span’s managing entity — the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District — for damages and breach of contract. The contractors allege the district withheld information about the deterioration of the bridge and other issues, which led to increased construction costs and delays to the project.

The petition is part of a tangle of litigation between the companies, Shimmick Construction Co. and Danny’s Construction Co., and a subcontractor.

“The district withheld significant information during the proposal phase of the project, including significant deterioration of the bridge which interfered with [the construction companies’] ability to perform the work as designed by the district,” attorneys for the companies said in the complaint.

“Rather than acknowledging its own mistakes, the District seeks to hold (the companies) hostage and have them complete the job with no price adjustment,” the attorneys said. “In other words, the district wants to pay only $142 million for a project that will cost well over $398 million because of the district’s mistakes.”

District officials said they were unhappy with the progress made on the net and had been candid about the condition of the bridge.

“We are deeply frustrated with the slow construction of Shimmick and the multiple delays in the construction of 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 bridge with Shimmick throughout the project.”

Nearly 30 people die each year on the bridge, and safety advocates had called for a preventative device 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 see a steel net installed along the 1.6-mile span that is one of California’s most recognizable landmarks.

Earlier this year, officials from the Golden Gate Bridge, freeway and transportation district told The Times that project costs had reached $206.7 million.

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

Paul Muller, president of the nonprofit Bridge Rail Foundation, which had advocated for the nets, told the AP that the delays were costing lives.


California Daily Newspapers

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