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Route 66 News

Fence being installed on Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena

Temporary fencing soon will be installed on the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California, to deter suicidal people from jumping off the historic span.

According to a report Friday in the Pasadena Star-News:

The 10-foot tall mesh barricades are going up in front of 20 pedestrian alcoves along the bridge over the next week. City officials say benches in the alcoves allowed jumpers to more easily scale existing wrought-iron fences. […]

Members of the City Council will discuss a more permanent solution — such as curved iron fences or a net below the bridge — at the Public Safety Committee meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday. […]

A 1987 study by researcher Richard Seiden found that more than 90 percent of the people stopped from jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge did not go on to commit suicide by other means.

At least two people have died from falls off the Colorado Street Bridge this year, but even more have been talked down by first responders in the last six months.

The newspaper reports more than 150 people have died by suicide at the bridge since 1919. It earned the nickname “Suicide Bridge” way back in the 1930s. The city staffs police at the bridge to prevent people from jumping.

The bridge should be better known as an architectural marvel. Building a span over the deep Arroyo Seco in 1913 proved a challenge. More from the National Park Service:

These engineering challenges were solved when engineer John Drake Mercereau conceived the idea of curving the bridge 50 degrees to the south. This solution coupled with a graceful design of soaring arches and a curved deck created a work of art that received Historic Civil Engineering Landmark designation and listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Mercereau chose to support the bridge’s 28-foot-wide roadway and five-foot-wide sidewalks using spandrel construction.  In this system, support columns rest on the expansive arched ribs of the bridge. Mercereau’s design also included classical balusters and ornate cast-iron lamp posts supporting multi-globed lamps.

It was called the tallest concrete bridge in the world when it opened. The Colorado Street Bridge’s striking design has been shown in countless commercials and movies ever since, including last year’s Oscar-winning “La La Land.”

The bridge also carries westbound Route 66 travelers to Los Angeles via the also-historic Arroyo Seco Parkway.

(Image of the Colorado Street Bridge in 2014 in Pasadena, California, by ltenney1225 via Flickr)

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2 thoughts on “Fence being installed on Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena

  1. Allan Hunter

    If someone wants to commit suicide they will find a way other than jumping from a bridge.
    You can’t stop everyone from committing suicide.

  2. Scott Piotrowski

    Geographical correction: the Colorado Street Bridge carried Route 66 traffic from 1934-1936 via the Construction Alignment (onward west into Eagle Rock and then south on Eagle Rock Boulevard) and again from 1936-1940 via the Alternate Alignment to Figueroa Street. The Colorado Street Bridge does not connect to the Arroyo Seco Parkway, which itself is another National Register of Historic Places Landmark and also the only National Scenic Byway fully contained in a metropolitan area anywhere in the country (not just on 66).

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