After more than a decade of planning, the Golden Gate Bridge may soon have a median separating northbound and southbound traffic.
A key committee voted unanimously Thursday to build the barrier, advancing the proposal to the Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors for a final vote on Friday morning. Opposing traffic on the bridge is currently separated by a row of yellow plastic tubes. The steel and concrete median would prevent head-on collisions. It would be moveable as well.
If the purchase is approved, the barrier would be installed in late October or early November 2014. The bridge would have to be closed for a little more than two days.
"This is a long time coming," said Mary Currie, bridge district spokeswoman.
The idea for a barrier gained steam after a series of fatal head-on crashes in 1996. In all, 36 people have died in accidents on the bridge since 1970, 16 of them in crashes involving a vehicle on the wrong side of the road.
Bridge directors approved the concept of a movable barrier in 1998, but a lack of funding stalled the project for years.
In 2008, the bridge received $20 million for the barrier from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The remaining money is coming from tolls and the state and federal governments.
Design and construction plans as well as an environmental and wind tunnel studies have been completed.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.