6th Street Viaduct closes for good on Wednesday

6th-st-viaduct-sign.jpgLA Observed file photos.

They have been talking about the tearing down the 1930s 6th Street Viaduct for so long that a few things have happened in the meantime. One, the Arts District on the downtown side of the bridge has become an insanely hot neighborhood. There are so many coffee and food purveyors within an easy walk of the bridge that you will be surprised by the foot traffic if you haven't been through there lately. Also, across on the other side of the bridge, in the river flats of Boyle Heights, it's not there yet but you can feel it coming. Gentrification. So now, if you drive the viaduct or just pass by either end, it seems there is always somebody on the bridge taking photos. Or just gawking.

The 6th Street Viaduct has become an icon of the Los Angeles skyline, but it finally closes for demolition on Wednesday. As you surely have heard by now, the concrete bridge that opened in 1933 is dying from the inside — the concrete crumbling from a chemical reaction that is not afflicting the older bridges that cross the Los Angeles River and the railroad tracks. The city held a design competition and back in 2012 chose a team affiliated with architect Michael Maltzan to create the vision of the next viaduct. The new bridge will have access points galore, a bike lane, a more inviting pedestrian walk and gathering space underneath. It is intended to be a place to go, and it might function that way judging by the number of people I see checking out the old bridge. There was a nicely attended farewell celebration in October that our Gary Leonard attended.

Demolition officially begins Wednesday but the next milestone to take note of is Friday, Feb. 5. That evening, the 101 freeway under the bridge will close in both directions to allow the razing the proceed. Officials are saying the freeway will stay closed until Sunday afternoon. Detour information is listed here.

I talked about the 6th Street Viaduct project this afternoon in the weekly LA Observed segment on KCRW. Also here are some earlier observations.


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