L.A.'s New Viaduct

This video lets you soar over L.A.’s new Sixth Street Bridge

Architecture News West
A new fly-through video shows what it will be like to experience the new MMA-designed Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles. (Courtesy HNTB / MMA)
A new fly-through video shows what it will be like to experience the new MMA-designed Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles. (Courtesy HNTB / MMA)

A heroic new flyover video from the team behind the new Sixth Street Viaduct project in Downtown Los Angeles gives us a closer glimpse into what is in store for the L.A. River–spanning bridge as work on the $482 million project moves toward its 2020 completion date.

Construction on the bridge—designed by Los Angeles–based Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), engineers HNTB, and the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering—is well underway. Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck are contractors for the 3,500-foot-long project.

The original 1932 expanse was demolished last year as a result of long-term and irreparable structural issues. MMA’s proposal for the bridge was selected in 2012 after the city held an international contest to design the new monument. This summer, workers on either bank of the river are preparing foundations for the first of ten pairs of arching piers that will eventually support the bridge.

The flyover video shows four lanes of conventional automobile traffic running at the center of the bridge, with striped bicycle lanes and barricaded sidewalks on either end. Either end of the bridge is anchored by large-scale pedestrian access ramps that wind up to meet the bridge structure. The ramps on the Boyle Heights end of the bridge wind in a circular path that ramps down to meet the neighborhood and forthcoming landscaping and park areas, part of the $12 million plan to pedestrianize and green the areas below and around the bridge. Overall, the bridge will feature five pedestrian stairways and at least three ADA-accessible pedestrian ramps.

The video has drawn a bit of criticism on social media from bicycle advocates for not including protected bicycle lanes in the design. Los Angeles is making an earnest push to expand its network of protected bicycle lanes in conjunction with the piecemeal introduction of a regional bikeshare system and a growing focus on Vision Zero street designs that minimize pedestrian deaths. Instead of embracing this growing design trend, the new Sixth Street Viaduct designs, like the recently-completed Riverside-Figueroa bridge, exhibits wide, automobile-centric proportions.

The bridge is scheduled to finish construction and open for traffic in 2020.

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