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Caltrans officials meet to discuss suicide deterrents at Coronado Bridge

Bike over the Coronado Bay Bridge
Posted at 6:30 AM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 09:30:21-05

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - As iconic as the Coronado Bridge is, some like Cari McLaughlin are concerned about the safety of it, particularly when it comes to suicide prevention.

"Honestly ... I would just want something to be done because it's too many lives being lost,” said McLaughlin, who lost a brother to suicide at the bridge.

On Thursday, Caltrans officials met virtually with community members to address what is being done at the bridge. Some of the topics of discussion included the potential addition of vertical fencing on the bridge as a suicide deterrent.

"We also considered horizontal nets below the deck, we considered some dispersant panels and we also considered netting that would be on a new railing,” said Stefan Galvez-Abadia, Caltrans District 11's Deputy Director for the Environmental Division.

There were many questions about funding, other alternatives and how long it would take to create these measures.

"I would just like to see it hurry up and get done. I mean, they built the bridge in two years, and it's been seven years since my brother died on the bridge," McLaughlin said.

Caltrans says that there are processes in the bridge project that need to be completed first, like environmental reviews and other legal procedures, before the possible prevention measures become reality.

The agency told ABC 10News they have worked a lot on the front-end of procedures to hopefully help move things along more expediently on the back end.

One thing that Caltrans is looking into for later down the road is doing the design and construction of the project simultaneously.

"We're looking into how do we overlap some of those phases. Generally speaking, they're in sequence. But if we can incorporate those concurrently or at least to the best way that we can do so, we will be looking into that,” Galves-Abadia said.

If the potential vertical fences are signed off on, it's a welcomed option at the bridge.

"Any kind of barrier that would take any kind of time out of somebody's plan to go over the side and have time for somebody to grab them and bring them back down is OK with me,” McLaughlin said.

Public comments regarding this project can be submitted to Caltrans until March 1.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing troubles or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-8255.