GOLDEN GATE Bridge District officials are
stuck in a financial pickle. The
district has a plate filled with expensive capital projects, but not
enough money to go around. Topping
its priorities for more than a decade has been the much- needed seismic
retrofit of the landmark span. Work has already begun, but the district is
still trying to raise money to complete the $297 million project. Raising
money by generating more revenue and winning state and federal grants has
been a primary focus at the district's head quarters.
That job has seemingly overshadowed the construction of a $7 million
movable median barrier, a project that will end the real danger of head-on
collisions on the bridge. Two years
ago, after years of debate the district board approved the barrier and
said this life-saving wall could be built within 38 months.
Now, 24 months later, the district's engineer says "there are no
funds for construction at this time."
Still, another bridge spokesperson says the barrier is moving
ahead, slowly. The district
board needs to make sure the median is moving forward at a prudent pace.
The seismic retrofit is Vital, but so is the median barrier. Every day without the barrier,
motorists run the risk of being involved in a deadly head-on.
Since 1970, when the district started compiling accident statistics, 34
people have died and hundreds more have been injured in bridge crashes.
The fatalities from head-on number 26.
Every minute the barrier remains un-built there is a risk those
numbers will rise, bringing tragedies with them. Golden Gate
officials need to put both the seismic retrofit and the median barrier on
a track toward completion as soon as possible.