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About Mental Health

By Michael Cabanatuan. 

Golden Gate Bridge officials still plan to install a steel net to deter suicides, despite bids that came in at about twice the expected price.

The bridge district opened the two bids received for the project on Tuesday. The low bid, from Shimmick/Danny’s Joint Venture of Oakland, came in at $142 million. The other bid, from American Bridge of Coraopolis, Pa., was for $174 million.

Both were well over the consultant’s estimated price tag — as well as the district’s adopted plan — which counted on the net, installed below the deck on either side of the span, costing $76 million.

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Priya Clemens, bridge spokeswoman, said the bids could delay construction and installation of the net but would not cause the district to back away from its commitment.

“Unfortunately, we continue to have suicides on the bridge. There were 33 last year,” she said. “It’s just not acceptable to let that continue. The district is still committed to saving lives on the bridge.”

Bridge officials will pore over bid documents to try to figure out why the estimate was so far off, Clemens said. If there’s something that can be fixed, bids could be rejected, and the district would seek new bids.

But if the district finds nothing amiss and concludes that the cost is the result of the booming construction climate, it would award the contract and start searching for more funding. Current funding includes $27 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, $22 million from Caltrans, $20 million from the bridge district, and $7 million from state Mental Health Services Act funds.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: twitter: @ctuan