After years of debate, Golden Gate Bridge leaders made it officials today. The board of directors approved the purchase of a $26.5 million concrete median on the treasured span.
The vote was welcome news to Grace Dammann, who knows all too well how dangerous driving across the bridge can be.
The Bay Area doctor was critically injured in 2008 when another car driving in the opposite direction crossed over the plastic tubes dividing traffic, hitting the car she, her daughter, and her dog were in head-on.
"I never drove in the middle lane it was known as the suicide lane and for some reason that day I drove in the middle lane," Dammann said.
The accident left the Mill Valley woman in a coma for 48 days. She was hospitalized for more than a year as she recovered from 17 broken bones, a collapsed lung and two major brain bleeds.
"The fact I woke up at all is nothing short of miraculous from a medical perspective," Dammann said.
Now partially paralyzed, Dammann's made it part of her mission to get a median barrier installed so others don't suffer a similar fate.
After years of pushing for change, Friday's vote means Dammann will soon get her wish.
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.
In order to get the barriers in place, the bridge will need to be closed for 52-hours at a still to be determined weekend in 2014.
Opposing traffic on the bridge is currently separated by a row of yellow plastic tubes. Officials say the median would prevent head-on collisions. It would be moveable as well.