Construction company for Golden Gate Bridge suicide net to be chosen today

After years of delay, a contractor has been tentatively selected to build a suicide deterrent net for the Golden Gate Bridge.

That company is likely to be Oakland-based Shimmick Construction Company, Inc./Danny’s Construction Company LLC, a Joint Venture, which pledged to build the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project for $142 million.

Shimmick is the sole contractor recommended by bridge staff to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, and awaits final approval from the district’s Board of Directors today.

In a preliminary step Thursday, 13 members of the Golden Gate District committee of the whole — who also serve on the full board of directors — voted unanimously to recommend Shimmick to build the suicide deterrent.

“We want to build the deterrent, we want to build it as quick as possible, and today’s vote moved us toward that goal,” said Priya Clemens, a Golden Gate District spokesperson.

Pending approval, the project is estimated to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2021.

The approval of Shimmick was a close call. A rival contractor, Coraopolis, Pa.-based American Bridge Company, filed a protest alleging Shimmick’s proposal failed to meet many standards of the project, though Shimmick denied those allegations.

If Thursday’s committee found the allegations had merit, both contracts would have been rejected, because the Golden Gate District deemed the bridge company’s $174 million proposal too expensive and the bid process would have reset, possibly delaying the project by at least a year.

In its reasoning for withdrawing its protest, the bridge company cited a report by the San Francisco Examiner.

“As it appears now, if American Bridge’s protest was upheld, the current funding is inadequate for the district to award the project to the responsive bidder and, as quoted by a district official [Thursday] morning, would result in a continued delay,” Brian Petersen, vice president of the bridge company, wrote in a statement.

Petersen wrote the company decided to withdraw its protest in the interest of those who “will be protected by this project.”

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