Suicides Prompt Extra Safeguards For New Tappan Zee Bridge

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The new Tappan Zee Bridge will include extra safety precautions.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge will include extra safety precautions. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – With Scarsdale-native Karl Peterson becoming the latest to take his own life in a dive off the Tappan Zee Bridge, many have questioned what safety measures will be put in place on the new bridge.

Outside of six viewing areas along the course of the three-mile bridge, the new bridge will be lined with anti-climbing fences, while marine patrols will be increased and emphasized.

At the scenic viewing areas, there will be stainless steel netting to catch potential jumpers. Additionally, the same safeguards that are currently in place will also be carried over to the new bridge in greater quantity.

Currently, there are suicide prevention phones and signs warning that “life is worth living.” Other safeguards include suicide fencing and traffic cameras, but unstable people have still managed to commit suicide by jumping.

Suicides and attempted suicides on the bridge are something that has plagued state and local police officials for years.

There have been many high profile suicides on the Tappan Zee Bridge that have caught national attention.

In the summer of 2011, a pair of Cornell University graduates jumped, with one casualty.

Anne Morell Petrillo, after leaving a note to her family in 2009, also committed suicide by leaping off the bridge. Notoriously, Scott Douglas also jumped to his death in 1994 after murdering his wife, Anne Scripps.

The most recent suicide, Peterson, “blindsided” his family and he failed to leave a note behind. According to state police, he was driving north on the bridge shortly before 5:30 a.m. on April 9 when he stopped his SUV and took the plunge into the water. His body was recovered after less than a half hour by Westchester County Police and Tarrytown fire officials.

In all dozens of New Yorkers have taken their lives at the bridge since it was erected in 1955. According to reports, the new Tappan Zee Bridge will feature extra safety precautions to discourage potential jumpers.

What measures would you like to see put in place on the new Tappan Zee Bridge to dissuade jumpers? Continue the conversation in the comments section below.

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Comments (5)

If so many people are intent on killing themselves, maybe it's the nature of society in Westchester. The general tone of people now is wholly negative and self-serving. Maybe we should focus on making life actually livable for the few empathetic individuals left in society. We'd all be a lot better off: and I'm not talking about more psych-diagnostic labels (labels justify a new form of prejudice and invalidation), I mean actually treating people with human compassion and decency.

I really don't think government and business can prevent suicide. If someone is so disturbed and does not wish to live, they will find a way to kill themselves. Enough already about constructing and signs - we cannot control everything!!!

I think I've read...that the Tappan Zee...is the 2nd most suicidal bridge in America...behind San Fran' Golden Gate..so it is a good idea to make the incident less available..good creative design thinking is at need for the deterrence..

When the number of innocent individuals killed by jumpers exists, there could be a discussion on all this suicide prevention. Does the state know something we don't know. Hastings on Hudson has "rolled over" and accepted the suicide proofing of their Warburton Avenue bridge, destroying the view of the river and rendering the gateway into the downtown to that of a prison entrance. For what? Are there a number of innocent people who have lost their lives when struck by jumpers? How long has the Warburton avenue bridge been there, and suddenly it needs suicide proofing? Gotta love the resistance Mayor Swiderski mounted on this. None. If there were any doubts on the survival of brick and mortar in Hastings downtown the year or more construction on the bridge will ensure the demise of more stores. Bring on the pop up Prom Shops and Nail saloons. Hastings is in desperate need of a SPINE.