Rep. Solomon, Sen. DiPalma bill would require safety barriers on Newport, Jamestown, Mount Hope bridges

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Representative Joseph J. Solomon Jr. and Senator Louis P. DiPalma are supporting legislation that would require barriers or netting on the three bridges that connect Aquidneck and Conanicut to Rhode Island.

The bill would make the Department of Transportation and the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) to erect barriers on the Mount Hope Bridge, Claiborne Pell Bridge, and the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge by January 1.

“Too many people have lost their lives on those bridges in the last decade,” said Representative Solomon. “Due to technological advances, there are various types of barriers and netting available to increase safety without hindering access for routine inspection and maintenance of the bridges.”

RITBA has suicide prevention measures in places, like a smart surveillance system allowing authorities to act quickly, but nothing to deter a jumper. The Rhode Island Samaritans have signs posted at the bridge entrances with information for those contemplating suicide.

“This is an all-too-frequent tragedy,” said Senator DiPalma. “The cost of suicide is great. Not only is there a tragic loss of life, but those left behind can spend their lives struggling with grief, anxiety and guilt. Beyond that, suicides and suicide attempts cost the nation almost $70 billion per year in lifetime medical and work-loss costs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Categories: Newport, News, Politics, Regional News, Rhode Island