Fence, barbed wire being added to bridge to prevent jumpers

June 6, 2022 GMT

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — A chain link fence topped with barbed wire is being added to a 155-foot (47-meter) high bridge over a scenic Tennessee valley in an effort to prevent people from jumping off the span, the National Park Service said.

Crews were slated to begin erecting the temporary safety barrier on the Double Arch Bridge along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Nashville on Monday, the park service said in a statement.

The statement said the project is meant “to deter further loss of life through suicide” and would remain in place until a permanent barrier design is selected and constructed. Its current railings are 32 inches (81 centimeters) high.

Some lawmakers declared the bridge to be a public health hazard in 2019. The Tennessean reported at the time that 32 people had killed themselves by jumping off the bridge in Williamson County as of 2018.

The work is expected to cause traffic delays. Motorists and bicyclists should expect some lane closures and the Birdsong Hollow pullout will not be accessible, official said. The bridge will be closed to pedestrians and hikers until the project is completed.

The 1,572-foot (479-meter) long Double Arch Bridge was constructed in 1994 and spans across Birdsong Hollow. It received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 for its innovative design.