Thursday, August 18, 2011

Akron Adds Fence to 'Suicide Bridge' to Prevent Jumpers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM


Akron will finally be adding fencing to the All-America Bridge, which is also known as the the Y-Bridge, but which is more commonly referred to as Suicide Bridge. Dozens have leaped to their deaths from the span since it was built in 1981.

The between $1 and $1.5 million dollars for the fencing, which Akron hopes will deter folks from jumping, comes from the Rubber City's $21 million share of the stimulus fund pie, dollars allocated to four projects in the city. Various other repairs and improvements will grace the bridge in addition to the fencing. Work is currently underway.

You'd do well to revisit our 2005 cover story on Suicide Bridge, which tells the story of the neighborhood below where the people fall and the families and businesses that go about their daily lives beneath the structure only to often hear a thud and then discover a body. An excerpt:

As her kids played in its shade, Shreve relaxed to the sound of cars whooshing by overhead. Then, she heard the rustle of trees and a heavy thud. "Someone hollered, 'A body!'" she recalls.

She ran to her backyard, her daughter and two sons at her side. They came upon a man splayed out in the grass, next to the bushes. Shreve remembers the middle-aged white guy lying on his stomach, his head busted open. His name was James Lehman. He was 33 years old.

Her children stared at his brains, which oozed into the spikes of green and yellow grass. More neighbors gathered. Then the police. An hour or so later, the body was carted away.

Shreve knew the routine. After all, she lives beneath the suicide bridge.

Since its construction in 1981, the Y-Bridge has served as the launch site for 43 suicides and countless more attempts.

But unlike most bridges that seduce jumpers, the bodies here don't fall into rivers, lakes, or forests. They fall onto buildings and houses, and into backyards, like some weird, ominous plague.

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