This Sunday, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Golden Gate Bridge operators and law enforcement will continue to enforce heightened security measures that have been put in place since the terrorist attacks, officials said today.
At a news conference at Vista Point at the bridge’s north end, transportation authorities discussed the evolution of bridge security over the past decade.
Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Mary Currie said today that $15 million in state and federal grants collected over the past decade has allowed authorities to implement district-wide security upgrades on the Golden Gate Bridge, transit and ferry.
The money has helped district officials equip the bridge with the latest security technology, including a $19 million communications information system to aid interagency communication that is set to launch next year.
Currie said safety and security have always been top priorities for the district and local law enforcement, but the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 spurred them to reinforce existing security measures.
She said the key to that heightened security has been the formation of a multi-agency coalition, teaming bridge security staff with the California Highway Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Park Police, and the San Francisco and Sausalito police departments, among others agencies.
“From a CHP perspective, after Sept. 11, 2001 our responsibilities changed,” CHP Capt. Amy Mangan said today. “We’re constantly meeting, doing exercises and reassessing the deployment of our resources…we have taken every step that we know possible to protect that asset.”
Mangan said the CHP is planning a maximum enforcement period on and around the bridge this weekend, with more patrols via car, bicycle, motorcycle and air.
That is in addition to the already beefed up police presence on and around the bridge since 9/11, she said.
And while travelers have likely noticed many of the roadway’s security upgrades over the past decade–from added surveillance cameras and fencing to restricted access beneath the bridge–Mangan said there are plenty of changes people do not see.
The CHP officer stressed the public’s role in bridge security and urged the public to report any suspicious activity spotted on or around the bridge.
So far, Mangan said the CHP has not received any “credible threats” to the bridge’s security this weekend.
This afternoon, tourists enjoyed the sunny weather along Vista Point’s lookout area, snapping pictures of the iconic landmark shrouded in rolling fog.
Sacramento resident Stephanie Henderson, who made a stop during her honeymoon today to photograph the monument, said the threat of a terrorist attack on the bridge has not crossed her mind.
“I don’t really think it would be the most effective target,” she said.
Her husband Clifford Henderson, a U.S. Marine, disagreed.
“The whole purpose of terrorism is to incite terror – destroying a landmark like that would be a major blow,” he said.
Laura Dixon, Bay City News