BOYLE HEIGHTS –– Construction of the new Sixth Street Viaduct will not start for several months, and the $420 million project wont be completed until 2019 if things go on schedule. But there was plenty of fanfare – and ceremonial shovels – on Friday during a ground breaking for the new bridge linking Boyle Heights to the L.A. Arts District, reports Streetsblog L.A.
Several intersections and traffic routes must be changed before the 3,500-foot-long viaduct connecting Boyle Heights and Downtown can be closed and demolition begins. Some said the viaduct could be closed by July but one official described that estimate as “aggressive,” according to StreetsBlog
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the project champions a new vision for streets and transportation, adding that he hopes labor jobs that go to local residents will help them feel like they own a part of L.A.’s future.
“For so many years, we’ve had our back to the river,” Garcetti said. By turning infrastructure into a destination, “we’re going to [be able to] embrace it.”
The bridge, which was constructed in 1932, needs to be replaced because a chemical reaction is causing the structure’s cement to crumble, making the bridge vulnerable in an earthquake.
The new bridge, according to the project website, will incorporate the following features and benefits:
- Creates Roadway Shoulders
- Provides Wider Sidewalks
- Removes Kink in Bridge
- Provides Safety Median Buffer
- Multimodal: Pedestrians & Bikes
- River Access & Enhancements
Concerns remain, however, for how bicyclists will be protected during the project, said Streetsblog.