Safety Barriers on Brisbane’s Story Bridge might curb suicides

Brisbane’s Story Bridge will have proper safety barriers by mid 2014, announced Brisbane City Council on Wednesday. The initiative is aimed at reducing the mounting number of suicide attempts.

According to an independent report examining the ways of reducing future incidents, installation of barriers was deemed most feasible. In addition, the installation of anti-climb screens is also a part of the plan. Reportedly, the cost of the plan is $8.4 million.

“Recently there has been an increase in the number of high-profile suicides and attempted suicides,” the Arup study says.

It was noticed that suicide rate around the Story Bridge has significantly shot up. The matter was considered urgent after the murder-suicide of Paddington mother Kim Patterson and her 14-year-old daughter Sidonie Thompson in 2011. Another tragic murder-suicide of Churchie teacher Jason Lees and his two-year-old son sparked a debate again last February.

According to Council’s Opposition Leader Milton Dick, safety barriers on the Gateway Bridge have significantly helped bringing down the number of suicides.

He said: “The Story Bridge is an Brisbane icon and as a council, we need to do all we can to make sure there are no more tragic incidents occur at this landmark.”

On the other hand, Police and Lifeline seem highly unwilling to comment on the issue, which has been debated privately by successive Brisbane City Council administrations.

The Arup study also states: “Even with the installation of all the recommendations contained within this report, it is impossible to guarantee that all suicides will be eliminated from the Story Bridge.”

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