George Washington Bridge to get safety fencing to prevent suicides
NEW YORK - One of the region's most notorious spots for suicides is getting a fix.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced on Monday that it will install temporary pedestrian safety fencing along the George Washington Bridge's south sidewalk. The project is expected to start on Sept. 28.
Monday's announcement came after a tour of the bridge by Chairman Kevin O'Toole.
During the installation of the safety fencing, the upper-level south sidewalk will be closed to both pedestrians and bicyclists. The Port Authority said while construction is taking place on the south sidewalk, the bridge's north sidewalk will be open to the public.
The temporary fencing should be complete by the end of the year.
In 2018, the Port Authority will begin work to install a permanent safety fence on the north sidewalk. Once that work is completed, the temporary fence on the south sidewalk will be replaced with a permanent one.
The project is part of the agency's $1.9 billion "Restore the George" plan to rebuild sections of the bridge's infrastructure, including the span's original 592 suspender ropes.
The Port Authority has implemented several initiatives in recent years to combat suicides, including awareness signs, a counseling partnership with mental health care providers, and telephones along the north and south sidewalks for people to use during emergencies.