Golden Gate Bridge ‘suicide net’ could cost $400 million, double the original estimate
A net designed to prevent suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge could cost nearly $400 million — double what was originally estimated for the project, according to the two construction firms in charge of the project.
On Monday, both companies filed a motion requesting that they be able to sue the span’s managing entity — the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District — for damages and breach of contract. The contractors allege the district concealed information regarding bridge deterioration and other issues, resulting in increased construction costs and project delays.
The motion comes as part of a tangle of litigation between the companies, Shimmick Construction Co. and Danny’s Construction Co., and a subcontractor.
“The District concealed significant information during the proposal phase of the Project, including extensive bridge deterioration that interfered with [the construction companies’] ability to perform the work as designed by the district,” the firms’ attorneys said in the complaint.
The L.A. City Council passed an ordinance Friday that requires the phaseout of oil drilling in the city within 20 years.
“Rather than acknowledge its own mistakes, the District seeks to hold (the companies) hostage and have it complete work with no adjustment in price,” the attorneys said. “In other words, the District wants to pay only $142 million for a Project that will cost well over $398 million because of the District’s mistakes.”
District officials say they have been unhappy with the progress on the netting and that they had been forthcoming about the bridge’s condition.
“We are deeply frustrated by Shimmick’s slow pace of construction and multiple delays building the suicide barrier,” Director of Public Affairs Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz said in a statement to the Associated Press. “The District has been transparent about the condition of the Bridge with Shimmick throughout the project.”
Nearly 30 people die each year at the bridge and safety advocates had called for a preventive apparatus for years before Bay Area officials approved the project in 2014 at a cost of $76 million.
The demand to fund significant salary increases for strikers comes as the state faces a potential $25-billion budget deficit.
Construction began on the Golden Gate Suicide Deterrent Net System in 2018. The project would see steel netting installed along the 1.6-mile span that is one of California’s most recognizable landmarks.
Earlier this year, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District officials told The Times that costs for the project had risen to $206.7 million.
As of March, 75% of the mesh had been completed but only 5% had been installed, district officials said.
Paul Muller, president of the nonprofit Bridge Rail Foundation, which had advocated for the nets, told the AP that the delays were costing lives.
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