Sen. Kimberley Rosen Seeks to Prevent Suicides on Penobscot Narrows Bridge

Contact:
Krysta West
Communications Director
Senate Republican Office
(207) 287-1505
krysta.west@legislature.maine.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA – Senator Kimberley Rosen (R-Hancock) this week testified in support of LD 203, “Resolve, To Add a Safety Fence to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge,” before the legislature’s Transportation Committee as a co-sponsor of the bill. The purpose of the fence would be to prevent suicides further, which have a 100% rate of mortality on the bridge to date.

“Studies prove that suicide prevention fences installed on bridges save lives,” said Sen. Rosen to the committee. “People have time to reconsider. The City of Augusta installed a safety fence on the Memorial Bridge in 1983. Since that time, there has not been one suicide from the Bridge in contrast to prior to the installation where it was the site of many deaths.

“According to a study conducted to evaluate the effect of the bridge safety fence in preventing suicide, the results indicated that the fence in Augusta was effective in preventing further suicides. Additionally, the study suggested that individuals did not seek alternative sites as the number of suicides related to similar circumstances did not change following the installation of the fence. This further demonstrates that people in crisis do not always ‘just find another way.’ A spokesman from the National Association on Mental Illness has testified before this committee in the past and said that “a suicidal crisis usually lasts a short time” and “the vast majority of people who are interrupted or who get help continue on to live long and productive lives.

“When will we realize that the cost to build the fence far outweighs the cost of losing a life? It’s time to install a safety fence and save lives.”

Senator Rosen’s full remarks can be found here. The Transportation Committee has not yet scheduled a work session for this bill.

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