A recent spike in suicides has prompted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to propose installing a 9-foot high fence along the George Washington Bridge.
The project, expected to cost between $37 to $47 million would take about a decade to complete, and the agency has proposed increasing bridge security and adding better lighting in the meantime.
"The Port Authority has stepped up police patrols, added surveillance cameras and installed hot-line phones at the George Washington Bridge in recent years to help address the issue of bridge suicides, preventing more than 75 deaths since the beginning of last year," Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico told us in a statement, noting that the fence would "minimize jumping attempts from the bridge’s walkway as part of the approved suspender-rope replacement project." The fence is part of a larger $1 billion-plus project involving the replacement of the bridge's suspender ropes
The GWB has seen its fair share of suicides and suicide attempts, and officials say there used to be a reported average of six suicides per year. That number has gone up, however, and so far this year there have been 13 suicides alone; last year saw 16 suicides and 37 attempts. 2014's body account includes a couple from Rockland County who jumped to their deaths after allegedly strangling a family member.
We asked the Port Authority how much it costs, per year, to respond to suicides and threats of suicide, and we'll update when we hear back.