Protective fences being added to State Route 82 bridge to help prevent future suicides

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SAGAMORE HILLS, Ohio (WJW) — The Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which carries State Route 82 across the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is an engineering marvel and one of the most scenic spots in Greater Cleveland.

Unfortunately, three people have recently taken their own lives there by jumping from the Route 82 bridge.

Elected officials on each side of the span in Brecksville and Sagamore Hills Township are alarmed by the suicides and began discussions about putting up protective fences on the bridge.

“Suicide is not the answer obviously, so we want to do everything we can to deter people from taking their lives,” said Sagamore Hills Township Trustee Paul Schweikert.

Projects on the Route 82 Bridge can be tricky at times because of the number of jurisdictions involved, but Schweikert says in this case, all of the government agencies quickly agreed that something had to be done.

After the various local officials and State Representative Bill Roemer of Richfield approached the Ohio Department of Transportation about the issue, engineers began working on the problem. ODOT has decided to add six foot high protective fences to the existing 42 inch walls on the bridge as part of a maintenance project.

“We do care about those loved ones that have been lost here and loved ones that have been there and having those thoughts, we feel for those people and we do want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that our infrastructure is safe for everyone,” said ODOT Spokesperson Amanda McFarland.

The fences are scheduled to be installed in early 2021. All involved hope the project will ultimately save lives.

“We’re going to hope that it serves as a deterrent and really what we’d like to have is the people that are that depressed, if they reach out, they can get medical help, I mean it’s there, it works and they just need to give it more thought,” said Paul Schweikert.

ODOT says the state will cover the cost of the $200,000 project.

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