Glendale-Hyperion bridge prepares for a $50 million makeover

Rendering of Glendale-Hyperion bridge after project has been completed/Bureau of Engineering

It’s one of Los Angeles’ iconic river bridges, the Glendale-Hyperion bridge that connects Atwater Village with Silver Lake and Los Feliz has appeared in numerous photos and films. There’s even a miniature version of it at the Disneyland California Adventure theme park. But the nearly 1,200-foot-long span, also referred to as the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct,  fails to meet modern seismic as well as highway standards, according to city engineers. That’s why the city has proposed a three-year, $50 million project  to modernize the 84-year-old bridge – which actually consists of several separate structures – while retaining its historic character.

A public meeting and workshop on the construction project, scheduled to begin in 2016,  will be held on Wednesday night, Sept. 25, to review the project and a preliminary environmental impact report.

What will be the results of $50 million and three-years of construction and traffic disruption?  Some of the highlights from the environmental impact report:

  • Improve the Hyperion Avenue viaduct roadway by adding a center median barrier to physically separate northbound and southbound traffic.
  • Consolidate the existing two sidewalks into a single sidewalk along the west side, add a pedestrian
  • crosswalk across southbound Glendale Boulevard at the northern end of the bridge, and restripe the travel lanes to provide new lane widths (12-foot inner and 14-footwide curb lane).
  • Widen the northbound and southbound Glendale Boulevard bridges over the Los Angeles River by approximately eight feet.
  • Replace the existing deteriorated covered railings along both Glendale Boulevard bridges, along Hyperion Avenue, and along the Waverly Bridge with replica balustrades based on the original railing design.
  • Realign the existing I-5 northbound off-ramp to northbound Glendale Boulevard to connect with Glendale Boulevard south of the current exit to allow left hand turns onto southbound Glendale Boulevard and signalize the new intersection.
  • Add an access ramp from northbound Glendale Boulevard to the bike path along the Los Angeles River with an adjacent mini green space.
  • Construct an alternate pedestrian crossing over the Los Angeles River across the existing Red Car piers (downstream of the viaduct complex) to connect the bike path along the southwest side of the Los Angeles River with Glendale Boulevard on the northeast side of the River.

Some concerns have already been raised about the project, which has been criticized by some cyclists as falling short of what is needed to accommodate bikes.

The Bureau of Engineering, which is in charge of the project, will hosting a community workshop he Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct Improvement Project on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive from 6 to 8 PM. The public will be able to comment and respond to the preliminary environmental impact report through Oct. 11.

Rendering of bike path access and offramp from the northbound 5 Freeway and Glendale Boulevard./Bureau of Engineering


  1. But yet… the City of LA has no budget to keep neighborhood trees trimmed that are overgrowing and covering street lights making it dark and unsafe for pedestrians!?

  2. Yeah, forget the trees, I drive over that bridge nearly everyday with kids in tow and now I find out that it doesn’t meet modern seismic standards? I wish they could at least upgrade the structure while the preservationists and bicyclists figure out what it is they want.

    • It is not unusual for old structures to “not meet modern seismic standards.” Modern seismic standards are very strict. Odds are, unless you live in a recently built house, that your house doesn’t meet modern seismic standards.

  3. I, for one, think that it’ll be a major improvement to be able to exit at Glendale Blvd. and travel south. As it stands now, drivers have to exit at Glendale Blvd., travel north, then make a U-turn.

      • The plans look great. I especially like that they will retain some of its historic look. This refurb is long overdue. $50 million seems small considering all the work—especially public works projects which usually have astronomical price tags, almost as bad as medical bills.

  4. This is going to turn this street into the freeway that was always planned for this community. This is a waste of money because it will not help people walking and biking get between these two communities. Car drivers have plenty of options and traffic on these bridges doesn’t warrant these pricey upgrades.

    If you are looking for some practical suggestions that Tom LaBonge and others have chosen to ignore please refer to the series of article done by Richard Risemberg on the Flying Pigeon LA blog:


    • it’s already a freeway. and there aren’t plenty of options to get between silver lake and atwater. you can drive to Los Feliz, or you can drive all the way down to Fig and come all the way back up San Fernando. I think this plan is pretty good for accommodating non-drivers. If the bridge is old, it needs to be fixed.

      • Don’t forget one of the most direct routes from Silver Lake to Atwater Village: Fletcher.

      • So, because people are driving 55 mph for 400 ft. across this bridge we need to keep letting them do that?

        In the draft EIR documents the city and CalTrans (and 50+ consultants) prepared, every single public hearing about this project people came out and asked, “Oh, please slow down the cars on the bridge.”

        Seismic retrofitting: yay!

        Better freeway ramps: yay!

        Removing a sidewalk, putting cyclists in the gutter, allowing 55 mph+ speeds: uh, hell no.

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