August 14, 2014 7:52 pm

Options for suicide prevention barriers revealed for Edmonton’s High Level Bridge

Watch above: Several options are being looked at when it comes to installing barriers on the High Level Bridge. As Vinesh Pratap reports, it’s in an effort to stop suicides.

EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton has released images of three physical barrier options it is considering in hopes of preventing suicides on the High Level Bridge.

According to a report released Thursday, the cost of the barrier designs ranges from about $1.1 million to $7.4 million.

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“I think there’s a will to do something, certainly I’m interested in exploring some options. I think exactly which configuration we do, we’re going to a little more work,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

City Administration has done extensive research on the effectiveness of barriers as a means of securing the bridge. According to the report, research shows properly designed barriers are the most effective means to reduce bridge suicides.

“The research is conclusive that if we put barriers up at that site that we will significantly reduce, possibly even eliminate, suicide jumping at that site,” said Jodie Mandick with The Support Network, one of the agencies involved in the research.

READ MORE: City considers ways to reduce suicides on High Level Bridge

However, Mandick believes the discussion needs to go much further than barriers.

“What we need to do is we need to build more supports into suicide prevention and not suicide intervention.”

Barrier design options for the High Level include:

Chain link: $1.1 million

A new, nine-foot chain link barrier would be installed. There are two variations of the chain link barrier, the modified version would include new stainless steel posts at a total cost of $1.6 million.

Existing guard rail with addition: $3 million

This option would see a horizontal tension cable barrier installed. The barrier would also see new stainless steel posts and mesh installed to replace the existing infrastructure.

State of the art design: $7.4 million

The most costly of the designs would see a vertical stainless steel tension cable and a hollow steel frame installed.

All three designs would involve keeping the existing guardrails in place.

Push-button phones that directly link to 911, and signage are already being installed around the High Level.

Barrier designs will be discussed by city councillors and the Community Services Department on Monday.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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