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Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge and Suicide Barrier… Two Years Later

Two years ago today, Caltrans announced the completion of a controversial suicide barrier for the historic Cold Springs Arch Bridge, picture below.

54 people tragically jumped to their death from the time the bridge opened in 1964 to completion of the suicide barrier in March 2012. Peter Stefan Roycewicz from Santa Monica foiled the suicide barrier, jumping to his death just six months after completion. A second man, identified as Gilbert Hererra from Santa Barbara, scaled the 9’7” tall mesh fence and jumped to his death last July.

13 Responses to “Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge and Suicide Barrier… Two Years Later”

  1. Wasnt it like a few million bucks that could have gone to infrastructure? All they had to do was remove the parking areas and put up a phone.

  2. Anonymous

    What a shame to ruin that wonderful view, a one of a kind view, just to try to prevent someone from jumping off. If someone wants to commit suicide they will find another place to jump from. Not wanting this ridiculous barrier doesn’t mean people don’t care about suicides. It means there is a sensible approach, and then this debacle. Someone made kickbacks on this scheme which was started before any permits were acquired. Follow the money.

    Clearly this brilliant plan is a failure. Twice and counting. At the current rate there will be more suicides off this bridge than before! The morons who thought it up and approved it should pay for it’s removal out of their own pockets. Who gets away with this kind of destructive behavior? Ditto for the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Next we’ll need fencing all around the pier, on every dock, on every building, on every roof of every house taller than one story, on every cliff to prevent the .00001% of jumpers from jumping anywhere. And the railroad tracks- people jump in front of trains so we’ll need fencing all along the tracks from San Diego to Canada just in case. As Sue said, we could have used that money for any number of good things instead of this squandering of it.

  3. Anonymous

    Guess you have to put a metal wrap around the Courthouse tower too because someone jumped from there. Deal with the solution. Some crazy lady drove into the ocean yesterday with three kids in the car. Spend the money on prevention.

  4. Martin

    I can’t understand people that value a scenic view more than a life. Nothing is guaranteed one percent, so if it foils just one attempt of someone wanting to take his or her life then the barrier was worth putting in. As far as the view it’s still there.

  5. The view is still there, I agree with Martin on that and the deterrence aspect. It also has made crossing the bridge more pleasant for those afflicted with anxiety/panic disorders. Money should be also spent on prevention but, imo, this was money well-spent. Nothing is foolproof, but having a phone there in the day of cellphones would have done little to nothing.

  6. Perspective

    In a world (or county) of unlimited resources perhaps it was a good idea. But we don’t live in that world. The reality is that it’s perfectly reasonable to look at the cost-benefit of this project. It would be impossible to justify this project relative to other benefits this money could have provided.

  7. Dan Seibert

    All through the years of this being debated I was against it, thinking if someone wanted to kill themselves they would go somewhere else.

    Now I’m glad it was built, I rarely hear about people jumping from the bridge.

    Maybe they drove cross country and ended up in the surf in Florida. Or maybe they reconsidered and are alive. . . .

    • Anonymous

      Fuzzy logic like that is not the way to spend millions of taxpayer dollars.

  8. Anonymous

    54 people since 1964 = about 1 person per year. 1.08 to be exact. Now, two people have jumped in two years, about 1 per year. What’s changed? Nothing except people can now feel good, hey how about feeling good without the millions of dollars it took to build this monstrosity. Your feel good doesn’t trump our need to conserve tax money before we all are taxed out of existence. Especially when the results are ZERO improvement.

  9. Anonymous

    54 people jumped between 1964 and today, 1.08 people per year. With the new barrier, two people have jumped in two years about 1 per year. Zero improvement, so the theory that it will be a deterrent is bunk. How about feeling good without millions of tax dollars, especially when the results of squandering all that money are zilch zero nada if the measurement is how many people jump. I don’t buy into the idea that we should just squander all our money to prevent one person from suicide, there is a cost-benefit analysis. Now a woman has driven into the ocean to kill herself and her kids, we should what? close the beaches to save one or even three lives? Eliminate cars so she can’t drive? Whatever happened to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

    • anon..

      I think (but don’t have the statistics in front of me) that most of those who suicided were in the last years; I don’t recall reading of any in the early years of the bridge, so the one/year is accurate as an average but deceptive. With the publicity, there were increasing numbers of those who chose that bridge as an easy solution.

      (It’s not just preventing people from suiciding from the bridge, but also the wear on the county personnel attempting to deter or having to search for the body.)

      The money has been spent; why go on and on and on about it! I agree with Dan Siebert; I opposed it initially for similar reasons. Now that it is built, I am glad it is there.

      • It’s true that the suicide rate increased in the years just before the barrier was installed. That happened because the Sheriff and the Glendon Association repeatedly put out press releases advertising the bridge as a suicide destination, even after legitimate suicide prevention groups warned them of the dangers of copycat suicides.

        Now we have a bridge known as a suicide destination plus $4 million wasted on a barrier that’s been proven ineffective. It’s hard to imagine a worse outcome than this, and it’s all the worse because so many people predicted this outcome.

  10. I was the Project Engineer for American Bridge who worked on the retrofit in 98′

    I went on vacation to Santa Ynez and was surprised to see the suicide barrier. During our retrofit there were 3 immediate suicides. The first one was followed by 2 more rapidly after is was shown in the media. I was onsite for 2 of them.

    That sparked us putting a temporary version of a fence which DID deter more suicides. It was made out of that temporary plastic fencing and cost very little.

    The biggest cause of suicides is the media attention which gives others who are desperate the idea. I think their should be a black out on this kind of attention which sparks copy cats of mass shootings and suicides.

    As much as I think the fencing does change the look of the bridge I believe It will deter quite a few jumpers.