Caltrans today announced the completion of suicide barriers on Cold Spring Bridge on Highway 154 which has been the site of 55 suicides since its construction in 1963. The last attempted suicide was on July 20, 2011, when passing motorists stopped a 17-year-old Oxnard girl from jumping. The last suicide took place on February 19, 2011, when a 34-year-old Santa Barbara man jumped to his death.
Construction of the suicide barrier was opposed by a group called Friends of the Bridge, which successfully sued Caltrans, forcing the agency to amend and recirculate its environmental impact report for the barrier project. The Friends complained that the mesh barrier—now completed—would block panoramic views of the Santa Ynez Valley and advocated for a safety net below the bridge. Judge Thomas Anderle, however, ruled in late May that construction of the nine-foot seven-inch tall fencing, which had begun in the summer of 2010, could continue.