Golden Gate Bridge New Median Barrier Nears Approval

Installation would mean a weekend shutdown of bridge sometime in 2014

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Golden Gate Bridge District Committee approved plans Thursday to purchase and install a moveable median barrier on the bridge. Installation would mean a weekend shutdown of the bridge sometime in 2014. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Thursday, Sep 19, 2013)

    Just two weeks after the Bay Bridge shutdown, another possible bridge closure is looking more likely.

    The Golden Gate Bridge is one step closer to undergoing some significant construction that will require a total bridge shut-down.

    The Golden Gate Bridge District Committee approved plans Thursday to purchase and install a moveable median barrier on the bridge.

    Right now, all that divides northbound and southbound lanes are yellow plastic tubes.

    "This is a long time coming,'' said Mary Currie, bridge district spokeswoman.

    District officials say a median barrier will prevent head-on collisions, like the one that took place in 2008 that left a Marin woman paralyzed.

    It would be moveable as well.    

    But engineers say installing the median will require closing the bridge for an entire weekend, a first for the San Francisco icon.

    "If it saves one life, if it protects a family from having to go through a trauma, it's worth it," said committee chair David Rabbitt.

    The closure is expected to take place in October or November of next year.

    The Golden Gate Bridge District will take a final vote on the project Friday.

    In all, 36 people have died in accidents on the bridge since 1970, 16 of them in crashes involving a vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

    Bridge directors approved the concept of a movable barrier in 1998, but a lack of funding stalled the project for years. In 2008, the bridge received $20 million for the barrier from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

    The remaining money is coming from tolls and the state and federal governments. Design and construction plans as well as an environmental and wind tunnel studies have been completed.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.