Surveillance cameras being installed at French King Bridge

Effort designed to help police respond to reports of jumpers

GILL, Mass. (WWLP) –The French King Bridge has connected the Franklin County towns of Gill and Erving for more than 80 years.

It’s about 140 feet long and 150 feet to the water below. It’s a popular destination for fall foliage and sightseeing, but its also been a place where people commit suicide.

“It doesn’t negate from the natural beauty of the area we were walking along and theres so many people coming to see this,” said Sheri Uhlenbruch of Kentucky. “It is life. You have good with the bad.”

Over the years, police and rescue teams have found several bodies below the French King Bridge, including murder suspect Tyler Hagmaier from Montague back in May. Now MassDOT said it’ll install cameras there to help police better handle these situations.

Two cameras will be installed, one on each side of the French King Bridge, as a result of the project. The goal is to increase public safety and help the local police departments who’ve frequently been called here for reports of people jumping off the bridge.

“That’s the utmost importance the safety of everyone involved,” said Chief David Hastings of the Gill Police Department. “There’s a financial cost every time we are searching for someone. Our main goal is one to protect the people searching for somebody for but two may to ultimately be able to stop people from jumping off that bridge.”

Chief Hastings told 22News they receive calls about possible jumpers almost every week. Both the Gill and Erving Police Departments will be able to access the cameras at the station and through laptops and police cruisers.

Senate President Stan Rosenberg said MassDOT will start installing them next month. They’ll also pay for the equipment and installation, which costs just under 30-thousand dollars.