L.A.’s 6th Street Bridge Design Competition

HNTB, an engineering and architectural firm founded in Kansas City, Mo., has won a competition to redesign and replace the 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River between downtown and Boyle Heights.

The double arches of the iconic 80-year-old bridge, which engineers fear would crumble in an earthquake, will be replaced with a sleek, cable-supported structure that features a “ribbon of arches,” City Engineer Gary Lee Moore said as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials announced the winner Friday.

6th Street Bridge

A general view of the proposed 6th Street Bridge. Credit: HNTB, City of Los Angeles

The $401 million project—mostly financed by the Federal Highway Bridge Program—will support nearly 5,000 jobs, officials said. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, pending approval from the Board of Public Works and the City Council. The redesigned bridge is expected to open in 2019.

The design was chosen as part of an international design competition. Its futuristic look features a series of arches that resemble oscillating wavelengths and will include an additional pedestrian pathway above the river.

The new bridge “honors the history of the original while boldly looking towards the future,” Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Boyle Heights, said in a statement.

“I love the old bridge,” Huizar said in a video statement released about the project. “As a kid I would always look at the bridge and say my life could extend and go beyond these streets of East L.A. through that bridge.”

6th Street Bridge at Night

A view of the pedestrian bridge walk at night. Credit: HNTB, City of Los Angeles

But Huizar said he hoped the new bridge would encourage biking and walking, and that new community gathering spaces would bring benefits to the community.

The original was built in 1932 using rocks containing silica, which have mixed poorly with alkali in the concrete, producing a gel that expands and cracks the concrete. Studies have shown it has a 70% chance of failing in a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Underneath the 6th Street Bridge

A view beneath the 6th Street Bridge. Credit: HNTB, City of Los Angeles

via latimes.com. October 2012

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