Taos Bridge renovations won't include hampers to jumpers

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A planned $2.6 million renovation of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in Taos won't include structural changes to prevent suicides.

According to the Department of Transportation, proposals to directly address jumpers — including higher fencing and a net extending beneath the bridge — are costly, and the look of the bridge can't be altered because of it is on both state and national registers of historic places.

"It's a very, very sensitive issue for everyone involved," said DOT spokesperson Roseanne Rodriguez. "It's definitely a bad situation, and it's been brought to light on several occasions and they've made action to do something. This (the feasibility study) is as far as it's gone at this time."

Which isn't far enough for Taos Volunteer Fire Chief Jim Fambro, who once recovered two jumpers' bodies from the Rio Grande Gorge in the same day, and has recovered "at least 100? jumpers' bodies in Taos since 1984.

"I don't care about their aesthetics," he said. "I'll show them aesthetics— the pictures of these bodies we pull out from down there. We've had over 100 people jump off this bridge, and no one wants to do a damn thing about it? Give me a break."

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