Extra delays probably in Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier challenge, contractors warn

Sneak Peek: Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Takes Shape by
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SAN FRANCISCO — The stalled completion of a suicide prevention net on the Golden Gate Bridge could be delayed even further after construction companies hired to take on the project allege their costs have more than doubled, according to San Francisco Superior Court documents filed this week.

The project to erect stainless steel mesh nets on both sides of the bridge was supposed to be completed by last year but has been fraught with delays.

Last year, subcontractor for the project Vigor Works LLC sued joint venture contractors Shimmick Construction Co. and Danny’s Construction Co. (SDJV) over allegations that they were owed at least $13 million. Shimmick and Danny’s then countersued this year. In a motion in that case filed this week, SDJV also asked the court’s permission to sue the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which manages the bridge.

The bridge district is accused of “concealing significant information” during the proposal phase of the project, including “extensive bridge deterioration” that interfered with SDJV’s ability to perform the work.

“It later became apparent that many of the District’s own designs and design criteria and specifications are flawed, and some requirements would be impossible to execute,” reads the court filing. “Rather than acknowledge its own mistakes, the District seeks to hold SDJV hostage and have it complete the work with no adjustment in price.”

In Dec. 2019 construction of the Golden Gate Bridge suicide net was two years behind schedule.

David Paul Morris via Getty Images

SDJV alleges that the project will cost “well over” $398 million, not the $142 million the district wants to pay.

“We are deeply frustrated by the contractor’s slow pace of construction and multiple delays building the suicide barrier,” said district spokesperson Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz. “Shimmick has had three different owners since beginning work on the suicide barrier in 2017, which has led to project delays and cost overruns. The District has been transparent with Shimmick about the condition of the Bridge throughout the project.”

Cosulich-Schwartz added that the district continues to work “diligently” with the contractor to complete the project as quickly as possible.

Bridge officials first green-lighted the project in 2008, as the Golden Gate Bridge remains the only “suicide magnet” in the world without protective barriers installed. Over 2,000 people have jumped to their deaths from its span since the bridge’s opening in 1937.

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