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"Golden Gate Bridge Board 
Agrees On Barrier Testing "

By Tyra Lucile Mead
San Francisco Chronicle Staff writer   SATURDAY; JULY 13. 1996


    Imagine a heavy chain of concrete barriers snaking over the Golden Gate, definitively separating the cars hurtling northward from the cars whistling southbound a mere foot or two away. Or imagine high-tech cameras and radar tracking your progress over the span-and then imagine getting a citation in the mail for your speedy travel, with a hefty fine due. Both these scenarios could become reality: The Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors approved a pair of measures yesterday intended to make the historic span less deadly to the people who drive across it. The unanimous votes came 2 1/2 weeks after a head-on collision on the bridge killed 38 year-old Tamar Kraut of San Francisco, a psychologist and HMO executive. The 10 car pileup created an hours long traffic jam and put pressure on the district to take action. 

    Yesterday, the board agreed to spend $42,500 toward the crash testing of a barrier made by Barrier Systems of Nevada and an additional $50,000 on feasibility studies. "I hope it works! Let's get on with it," said district General Manager Carney Campion. More than a decade ago, the district rejected Barrier Systems' original all concrete design because it took up too much room on the narrow roadbed. The revamped version uses steel, which makes it sleek but more expensive. The system includes the steel and concrete divider, machines to move it and a guidance system. It will cost about $6.5 million, compared with $4.1 million for the company's concrete only design. Ed Wood, the company's director of business development, said that if everything goes smoothly, the barrier could be on the bridge next summer. 

    District officials said they will seek federal funding for the project if it passes the hurdles ahead. The second measure approved yesterday directs bridge staff to seek legislative changes that would put teeth into enforcing the 45 mph speed limit. In addition to wanting radar and high-tech cameras to catch speeders, the district-borrowing an idea that is helping to wash away Highway 37's "blood alley" moniker-wants the state to triple the fine for any violation on the bridge, whether a driver is ticketed for speeding or tailgating.
 

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