- The $211 million Suicide Deterrent Net System (SDNS) under construction at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is two years behind schedule, and in a statement, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District puts the blame on AECOM subsidiary Shimmick Construction Co. and its joint venture partner Danny's Construction Co.
- The district wrote that the JV has not provided a specific completion date but it anticipates the work will be finished in 2023. The district said that the "corporate distraction" resulting from AECOM's 2017 purchase of Shimmick delayed the start of the project; that there was a slow mobilization of platforms needed to access certain areas of the bridge; and that the JV underestimated the time required to complete some tasks. But the JV is adding resources and work is speeding up "as they gain knowledge on the job."
- The district also reported that the JV has so far installed 102 of 369 net supports, removed 1,488 linear feet out of 4,000 linear feet of old sidewalk railings, and installed 1,325 linear feet of new railing. Manufacturers have completed about 80% of the bridge's new steel components, which include net supports, wind retrofit elements and netting.
In a statement to Construction Dive, AECOM said, “The Shimmick-Danny’s Joint Venture is committed to working with our client to ensure the successful delivery of this important project. The acquisition of Shimmick Construction Company, Inc. does not have any relevance to project execution.”
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District did not respond to Construction Dive's request for comments as to whether it has asked the JV to accelerate work in order to finish closer to the original schedule.
The Shimmick-Danny's JV has a $142 million contract with an almost $28 million contingency. AECOM would not comment on additional details of the contract with the district.
Construction Dive named the SDNS its 2018 Project of the Year and reported that it had the potential to reduce the more than 30 suicides that take place there every year. When complete, the steel netting, positioned 20 feet below the bridge's sidewalks, will extend out 20 feet in the hopes of "catching" jumpers.
Almost all of the new barrier will be painted International Orange, the same signature color as the Golden Gate Bridge. To help the system blend in with the bridge — and to relieve concerns that the net would take away from the bridge's aesthetic — struts for the SDNS will be spaced 50 feet apart to blend in with the bridge's suspender ropes.
The barrier also was designed so as not to interfere with the 200 operating engineers, mechanics, electricians, communications technicians and other skilled trades who work on and around the bridge as part of maintenance and operation duties.