Lawmakers push for Coronado Bridge suicide barriers
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful sights along San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bay Bridge also has a darker, less savory reputation as a place where hundreds of despondent souls have decided to take their lives.
Bertha Loaiza was just a toddler when her mother jumped off the Coronado Bay Bridge. Bertha survived the jump from the bridge, her mother did not.
Nearly 35 years later, Bertha is calling on lawmakers to approve a state senate bill that would begin the process of building suicide barriers on the Coronado Bridge.
A bill introduced by State Senator Ben Hueso would create an advisory committee to recommend some kind of deterrent system, a wall, a net or some other impediment that would make it impossible for someone to go over the side of the bridge.
For Hueso, there’s also a personal reason for fighting for the bill. Someone close to the senator died as a result of jumping from the bridge.
An estimated 80 thousand cars and trucks cross the bridge every day. Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey says that closing the bridge after a suicide or suicide attempt also has an effect on transportation safety.
Caltrans added fencing to the side of the bridge, after four people were killed in Chicano Park in 2016, when a navy sailor lost control of his truck and tumbled from a ramp to the bridge.
So far, other measures to stop suicides have not been successful.
Four inch bird spikes installed along the spans earlier this year have not stopped the suicides.
The recommendation of which design will function best will be made by the advisory committee, assuming that Hueso’s bill is approved.
Suicide survivor Bertha Loaiza says there’s no more time to waste.