The demolition of the historic bridge, which was built in the 1920’s and 1930, began last Friday and is expected to last several weeks, according to an official with the Department of Public Works. The bridge links Cypress Park and Elysian Valley.
The Figueroa-Riverside Bridge will come down in three segments – the structure on the west side of the river, the truss spanning the bridge and the structure on the railroad tracks and Avenue 19.
On Monday, workers began installing handrails on the sidewalks of the new bridge, which is being constructed right next to the old one. The goal is to have the bridge ready for people to walk across by the start of the L.A. Unified School District school year, said Tonya Shelton-Durrell, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Public Works, in an email.
The demolition of the parts of the bridge over railroad tracks began on Friday night and continued until early Sunday morning. Construction on this area will take place on weekends over the next few weeks when the tracks are free.
Work on the steel truss that stretches across the water began Monday, Shelton-Durrell said in the email.
For the structure on the west side of the L.A. River, demolition is set to start in September.
When the process ends, workers will shift their attention to the foundations of the remaining parts of the new bridge and then the construction of frames and decks on the new structure.
City officials expect construction on the new bridge to finish in late 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
The city had approved demolition of the bridge several years ago but an effort to save the structure began last year as construction on the bridge had already begun. Advocates for the old bridge said it could remain standing next to the new span and be used as “landbridge” for pedestrians cyclists and other public uses while providing an overlook of the L.A. River channel.
But city officials, including Councilman Gil Cedillo, said it was not feasible to save the bridge, which could trigger delay and endanger federal funding for the new span. After failing to delay the demolition in the courts, bridge supporters held a wake for the structure last month.
Amanda Schallert is a fourth-year UCLA student and the news editor at the Daily Bruin.