Three visions for rebuilding the Sixth Street bridge

The three finalists to rebuild the Sixth Street bridge linking Boyle Heights and downtown unveiled their plans and ideas earlier this week for the $400 million project.  The 80-year-old concrete and steel structure officially known as the  Sixth Street Viaduct is slowing disintegrating from inside as a chemical reaction eats away at the concrete of the 3,500-foot-long span.

The Downtown News said the entry by HNTB that features 10 large arches probably has the most “wow factor” of the three but all the proposals also addressed the demands for more pedestrian and bike access as well as making use of the land below the bridges.

Two more presentations are scheduled for Monday night in downtown and Tuesday night in Boyle Heights. Click here for details.

Proposal by HNTB: “We have separated bicycle traffic from the adjacent vehicular traffic, with a dedicated zone on both sides of the bridge separated both by a barrier and in section, creating clear views for cyclists as they cross. In addition to bicycle connectivity at each of the bridge’s ends, cyclists can descend to the river at the project’s center, linking to the promenade along its western embankment. To the east, a gradual ramp link’s the new green belt of Viaduct Park to Hollenbeck Park and Boyle Heights.”

Proposal by AECOM: “In addition to the walkways at deck level, a separate pedestrian link is suspended beneath the bridge over the Los Angeles River and the railway tracks to provide a direct connection between Mesquit Street on the Arts District side with South Mission Road in the Warehouse District.”

Proposal by Parsons Brinckerhoff: The cable bridge features a main support structure that resembles a pair of wings. A pedestrian walkway would run down the middle of the bridge and a viewing area would be located under the structures.



  1. I like the HNTB design best. As a bicycle commuter who acrosses there everyday I’m looking forward to a new safer bridge.

  2. Of course I like the bike stuff, but I also like that the HNTB design references the iconic arches of the current bridge.

  3. ofcourse its falling apart becuase the city of los angeles does not put money where its needed like suporting our infrastructure. what a bunch of waste of money, all the other older states still have there old architecture because they know what to prioritize as to preserve their history.

    assuming that when the bridge was built during those times other citys also used the same materials as they were the only materials they had availible in those times, And you dont hear this lame ass of an excuse about a chemical reation is eating away at their bridge also…what a bunck of crock!!! AWFUL!!!

    • It has nothing to do with maintenance, the material used was bad. It can be traced back to the quarry where the aggregate used for the concrete was sourced The chemical reaction destorying the bridge is not a lame excuse it’s science.

      • Yes. The bridge is an investment in new infrastructure. The science is clear about the need to replace.

        Sadly, for some every project is evidence for an imagined conspiracy or failure. The core issue is not science, design or engineering. Instead it bespeaks of a split in society. Once the worm gets in the gut that the system is stacked against “us,” we are in search of a new example. The search for fault and conspiracy alienates and harms civic life. It blinds.

        As Los Angeles makes new major investments in infrastructure and environment, we have to find a way to get a dialog going between rational planning/engineering/design and communities where inequities are still viscerally felt. Science does not convince in this context. How else to heal these splits?

  4. I like the HNTB best!

  5. I love the HNBT entry, but there is an opportunity to turn the center of the ACEOM design into a cellphone tower. It was a great idea how the latter chose to include the most beautiful part of the LA river in their rendering.

    Seriously, though, the design and rendering by HNBT is beautiful.

  6. Why not rebuild the original bridge, tweaked to suit current needs?
    & maintain a historic design integrity with the other bridges?

    HNTB = 90’s look, CRUDE, arches block the view.
    AECOM= 80’s HORROR.
    Parsons= at least there is a deco feel.

  7. HNTB wins hands down. AECOM is in second place. The PB bridge looks like it was designed by an engineering firm, which it is. At least the other firms have more architects working for them.

  8. These proposals are not keeping within the historical value of Boyle Heights. The 6th Street Bridge and all other bridges are iconic structures in Los Angeles and there is no need to look for a “futuristic” rendition. True that there is a need to rebuild the bridge, but why make it look out of place. HTNB looks like a caterpillar, AECOM looks like they use modern Olympic torches and Parsons looks like wings and a pltform at Tomoorowland at Disneyland. Im sure there were other proposals that kept the historical integrity of Los Angeles’ original structures while maintaing safety and security for people.

    • The bridge needs to be replaced, and the current one is nice but … why not associate BH with the 21st century? Something futuristic and fun. This is one case where it’s better to look forward and not back. That’s how our city will evolve (but, no, I don’t want to replace all the old structures!).

  9. The HNTB proposal looks like the artwork from a Dr. Seuss book.

  10. AECOM’s design is the least attractive. Parson’s-Brinckerhoff’s has a fatal design flaw. HNTB is by far the most memorable. It offers numerous vantage opportunities for pedestrians (shown in another render); they walk up, through, and over its arches. It would be fun to explore on foot, checking out the high and low points in a quite literal sense. On the other hand, the Parsons’ design doesn’t pass pedestrian scrutiny. Who want’s to walk down the middle of the street? With cars zooming past in both directions, the experience would rival Metro’s light rail stations in freeway medians, noisy and confining. Also, it pulls people away from the best views along the bridge’s edges. The walkway is little more than a very long ramp to a suspended viewing platform. So much for savoring a stroll along the bridge. It’s more like hurry up and get to a retreat.

  11. How about the version that restores the bridge to its original greatness? The bridges on the Los Angeles river have a granduer of the past that will be marred by placing in a bridge out of that context. Restoration of the old bridge could probably be done for less than what they are paying for the new bridge , seeing that the damage is located in one section of the bridge.
    But so much for historical treasures.

  12. The AECOM rendering looks so cartoonish that it’s difficult for me to picture what it would actually look like. What’s with those pillars of light shooting out the top of the support columns? I also imagine that there might be a public safety issue with having the pedestrian walkway suspended beneath the bridge – it kind of reminds me of those creepy crosswalk tunnels.

  13. Sean MacGowen is working for HNTB fyi.

  14. This has been going on for many years..to replace..cause. they have repaired and it is time to ‘re build..I myself have gone to past meeting .. we had chosen one design. Now there are. 3 new ones to meet the cars,, bikes& people that walk..I myself like. AECOM.. so fine a meeting and see for yourself.

  15. AECOM. Is not so buzzy in deign…elegant..

  16. All three of these designs are OUT OF PLACE. All these concepts look like an extension to LA LIVE. Re-building a practical bridge with modern necessities should be the priority. Boyle Heights has a humble history and heritage that is not being taken in to account. Furthermore, I bet maybe 80% of the residents in and around the area dont even know these plans are under way…

    • your totally correct, since none of the meeting dates or info are even posted in the dominated laguage Spanish which is required according to the brown act.

      I cant beleive the amount of wasteful spending that is going on with a city that says it has no money to maintain parks and other necessary city services but there is 400 mill to build this new bridge.

      when are you people going to wake up, your kids are getting the short end of the educated stick and the politicians are filling up their sacks and makeing off like bandits…

      this is utterly disgusting!!!

      • vincent, I think the bridge that connects BH to downtown LA is a necessary city service. i don’t know what’s disgusting about that.

  17. i like HNTB best

  18. oh well in that case lets just raise taxes again to cover the 400 mill that they quoted for this project along with the 2.6 bill high speed rail and the prop O act $500.00 mill and all these projects poping up and useing tax payers money to pay for that.

    if you dont know where the money is comming from, and only can come up with its a necessary city service you should know that the city is also responsible for maintaining its infrastructure like filling in pot holes that subsequently damages your car but I dont see them paying peoples car damages from these pot holes…


    if the question is never brought up other then the projects own determination, Im sorry I dont beleive anything the city of loa angeles says is necessary if they think they can justify wasteful spending which they have a notorious history of doing so.

    Historical preservation should be the focus and saving saving tax payers dollars in the end.

  19. Vincent, most of the money is from the Federal government. IIRC about 80-85% and it had a use-by date, so it looks like a very good deal for the City of Los Angeles, who is liable for something less than 5 million.

    I love the old bridge ( http://www.6thstreetbridge.com ) however its concrete is dissolving and the kink in the middle of the bridge causes a lot of accidents.

    • Dood are you aware of where the federal government gets its money? if it isnt from the tax payers their would be no federal dollars to spend on this waste of time project.

      the kink in the middle of the road, come on…

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