Port Authority hopes new fence on George Washington Bridge will prevent suicides

The Port Authority wants to build a 9-foot

The Port Authority wants to build a 9-foot high fence on the George Washington Bridge to prevent suicides. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

FORT LEE - The Port Authority wants to build a 9-foot high fence on the George Washington Bridge to curb the growing number of suicides there.

The fence would cost between $37 and $47 million. It would be a long-term solution to the problem, according to the Port Authority. 

The number of people jumping from the bridge is on the rise. So far this year, 13 people have committed suicide there, which is on pace to be an annual record.

Not everyone thinks it's money well spent. "I'd rather they put more money toward mental health care," says Kim Felong, of Roosevelt.

The Port Authority says it has stepped up police patrols, added surveillance cameras, and installed hotline phones. The agency says that has prevented more than 75 deaths since the beginning of last year.  

Some residents aren't sure a fence along the pedestrian walkway will make a difference. "Anything that prevents people from jumping off the bridge is a good idea," says Alex Cuyla, of Fort Lee. "I don't know how effective it will be."

Others, like Bill Felong, of Roosevelt, think a higher fence will be a temporary deterrent. "People would find another way, but at least they're not jumping off the bridge," he says. "And hopefully at that point, somebody would be able to help them out."

The fence is expected to be finished by 2022. 

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