New Riverside Drive bridge opens to traffic

New bridge is pictured in the middle; the old bridge at the bottom. the 5 Freeway is at the top.

One day after a city commission voted against preserving the old Riverside Drive bridge, traffic began flowing on the partially completed, replacement bridge being constructed next to the old structure that links Cypress Park and Elysian Valley.

Traffic was shifted today from the old, L-shaped  bridge (pictured at the bottom of the photo ) to the new, approximately 900-foot-long span (pictured in the middle) that crosses the L.A. River near Elysian Park. The shift in traffic was accompanied by a new set of detours on nearby streets. Construction to finish the new bridge  expected to continue until next year.

Meanwhile,  demolition of the old bridge is expected to begin in a few weeks despite a nearly year-long effort to save the concrete and metal-truss  bridge for use as a public space over the L.A. River.

Bridge construction pictured July 2013.

Cars, trucks and bikes hit the new bridge this morning | City of L.A.



  1. It’s hard to tell from the picture … are there bike lanes?

    • Marty, the entire lane IS a bike lane!

    • I believe it will be two lanes in each direction with a bike lane once finished. But it looks like it just just one lane each way with no bike lane now. I think the new bridge will be made wider once they close off and start tearing down the old bridge.

    • Steven Appleton

      The new bridge will be widened by around 22′ towards on the opposite side of the round belvedere viewing areas on the upstream side of the bridge. When done the bridge has dedicated 12′ bike lanes and 6-8′ pedestrian walkway. Before the cars went on it, I had a chance to walk the bridge. The views from the walking and biking lanes will be spectacular.

      • There will be no down river views from the new bridge. Post river makeover this view will be dramatically more beautiful + the dam being installed for the Cornfield Waterwheel will fill the channel with more water here & bring even more birds + the arroyo confluence will be re-made into a beautiful organic habitat – but we won’t be able to see any of this from the new bridge.

        Also having bike lanes only on one side creates a dangerous situation for cyclists from Frogtown who want to continue north on Figueroa – they will have to cross traffic or take a car lane across the bridge in order to do this.

        We should never again allow a bridge to be built with sidewalks only on one side.

  2. I was surprised this morning to find myself driving across the new, yet to be completed bridge. No, there aren’t yet any bike lanes. There’s barely enough room for a single lane in each direction. I guess that will be expanded over the next few months.

  3. what on earth is going on with the grading? there is a huge dip just before the bridge at Fig and San Fernando… this is temporary right???

    • That intersection is going to be quite different when finished; there will be a traffic circle there.
      Another lane will be added, and there should be plenty of room for bikes and pedestrians.

    • yeah i noticed that dip right away. it’s like a roller coaster there at the bottom. have to be careful not going too fast.

  4. Was there a parade? Because I love a parade..

  5. In the last picture, we see a perfect example of an entitled cyclist hogging up an entire traffic lane and blatantly ignoring the law, which explicitly states that cyclists move as far to the right as possible to allow traffic to get by. At least he’s wearing a helmet. Yet another law that bike cyclists routinely disregard.

    • @proper dos : actually, the cyclist is doing what he is supposed to do and is following the law perfectly. If you actually read the law, it says cyclists should stay as far right as practical UNLESS certain conditions exist under which they may TAKE THE LANE. One of these conditions is when a lane is too narrow to SAFELY accommodate both a car and a bike. The cyclist needs to leave some room on the right, because of the barriers (don’t want to clip a pedal or handlebars there), and there should be AT LEAST three feet of room between the cyclists handlebars and the cars mirrors.

      Otherwise, in these situations, cars will make dangerous passes leaving mere inches .. which is not safe. The tiniest false move by driver or biker would likely result in death for the biker in this situation… so he’s doing the right (and lawful) thing. Plus, really, how many seconds delayed are those cars? Aren’t a few seconds delay worth preserving a life?

      Finally, helmets for cyclists are only required by law if you’re a minor. I agree that cyclists should wear helmets at all times (I do), but the law does not mandate it.

    • ACTUALLY there are plenty of signs throughout LA that state


      and this is one of those instances, so shut up

    • As someone who bikes across this bridge daily so that I can access the bike path by the river, I can assure you that there is not enough room for a car to pass a biker even if the biker was all the way to the right. For now, cars will have to slowly follow bikers until the construction is finished. It makes me very nervous that there are cars following behind me, and I push myself over the steep hill so that I don’t cause too much inconvenience for the drivers behind me.

  6. daveedkapoor (@daveedkapoor)

    Incredibly disappointed (but not surprised) that there is no place to walk on the new bridge portion has been open. BOE and the contractor need to make a provision for safe passage of pedestrians during construction – right now it is completely un-safe.

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