The High Bridge
Living in the twin cities the mighty Mississippi river is an ever present fixture. I've no idea how many bridges span the waterway in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, but there is one that has been on my mind since moving here two and a half years ago.
The High Bridge.
At it's highest elevation the deck of the bridge is 160 feet (49 meters) above the flowing waters. From that height I would hit the water at a speed of 68 MPH (111 KPH). At those speeds hitting the water is like landing on concrete. A perfect result for a suicidal Jp.
Not completely convinced that's enough to get the job done? A clever Jp knows that Home Depot sells 5/16 galvanized wire rope with a working weight of 1960lbs (890Kg) and the appropriate accessories to fashion a noose. 140 feet or so still gets me up to a speed of 100 KPH.
Those were dark day plans I had in the months after my failed suicide attempt. I used to go running on a path that went under the bridge. Thoughts like these screamed in my head as I would approach the bridge.
I was close, how close I'm not sure. Maybe just a $60 purchase at the Home Depot I was working at away. How easy it would have been. The railing along the bridge's sidewalk was about 4-5 feet high, securely mounted on top of concrete. A perfect anchor with an easy hop over.
One thing that would have squashed all thoughts of utilizing this picturesque bridge would be higher railings. Decorative fencing taller than myself would have made it a non-starter. This is exactly what is being installed as part of $39 million maintenance project.
You can read about it in more detail here.
From the article: "The Minnesota Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project, approved the high railings in consultation with the state Department of Health, SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) and the local community."
"A study of bridges in Switzlerland found that a fence about 7.5 feet tall reduced suicides by nearly 69 percent."
Now the extra cost of the fence/railing is $400,000. Which is a big price tag, but only a 1% increase to the projects total price tag.
1% increase to save lives. Let that sink in.