If you've got the time, it might be worth taking a stroll along the pedestrian walkway of the Aurora Bridge. While you're there, gaze out over the water and enjoy the view. Take a gander at the bridge itself. Soon, both the view and the bridge may have an entirely different feel.
That's because, beginning sometime early next year, work will likely begin on placing barriers outside the bridge's guardrails. The purpose of the barriers: to deter suicide attempts.
Since its construction in 1931, at least 240 people have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. The Aurora Bridge -- a national historic landmark officially called the George Washington Memorial Bridge -- ranks second in the nation as the most sought-out bridge for suicide jumpers (the Golden Gate is first). The bridge's most recent suicide death occurred on June 10.
A local group, Seattle Friends, has been working to have a barrier placed on the bridge. The group hopes that the barrier will decrease or deter jumpers, in much the same way as barriers placed on bridges in Toronto and Washington, D.C., have done.
Earlier this month, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, in a 6-5 vote, approved a design application submitted by the state Department of Transportation, which will oversee construction, with funding to come from a $7.5 billion transportation bill signed by Gov. Gregoire. The project will be put out for bid in August.