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Possible change could be coming to the Skyway Bridge to prevent suicides

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-05 17:49:41-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The Sunshine Skyway Bridge could experience some changes in the future to prevent suicides, the Florida Department of Transportation says.

Officials say the department is concerned with the number of people who commit suicide on the bridge and are looking into ways to deter more from happening. Last year 18 people killed themselves on the Skyway, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"The Department has been monitoring the issue and is currently working on all options to successfully deter suicide attempts on the bridge while securing the necessary approval from the State Historic Preservation Office that preserves the iconic design of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.," the FDOT said. "The Department is re-examining all options to see if any technological advances have occurred including the feasibility of a vertical barrier to be placed on the outside wall."

In the past the department used non-structural deterrence methods, which included installing six crisis hot-line phones that went directly to suicide prevention staff. They also implemented 24 hour Florida Highway Patrol Coverage and installed cameras to reduce response time.

Soon, the departments say, they'll also be implementing pedestrian and stopped vehicle detectors in another effort to reduce response time.