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New bill hopes to fast track Coronado Bridge barrier project

Posted at 5:23 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 20:27:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new bill could fast track a Cal Trans project to create a barrier on the Coronado Bridge to prevent suicides.

"Essentially what this bill would do is it would fast track and direct the California Department of Transportation to install a barrier very quickly," Mayor of Coronado Richard Bailey said the bill would allow short cuts regarding the environmental impact report, generally the most lengthy part of the process to get a Cal Trans project moving.

The renewed urgency comes after a rash of deaths since bird spikes were installed in February as an interim solution. "Someone brought a pillow and placed a pillow on the spikes prior to putting themselves over the railing and so it's just a tragic situation all the way around," Bailey said.

Last week Cal Trans hosted a workshop hoping to find insight to fix the problem, "they invited several subject matter experts in the fields of Public Safety and Civil Engineering," Bailey said.

In the workshop, the group decided the Wave Barrier, Alternative 11, was the best solution. According to the Feasibility Study, "This alternative would construct a fence in a reverse wave shape out of metal frames and 1-inch wire mesh panels. The sections attached to the bridge rail would be hinged, both in the middle and at the bottom, which would enable to sections to fold down to facilitate maintenance access. This barrier system is anticipated to be 7 1⁄2 feet minimum. Additional features include providing an 8-inch continuous gap at the bottom of the fence to facilitate Maintenance access to anchor bolts, air and water hook ups, and ropes used during their operations."

An alternative option presented, then dismissed, was an electrified version.

"The Coronado Bridge is one of the most important connectors in the South Bay region and ensuring that that bridge remains open to the 80,000 cars that travel along it each and every day... and we want to make sure they can get to and from work in a safe and consistent manner," Bailey said.

The bill is in committee, if it passes the State Assembly, it has until October 13th, to be signed by the governor.