Glendale-Hyperion bridge overhaul proving more costly and complicated than expected

The overhaul of the landmark Glendale-Hyperion bridge  is going to cost more than originally estimated  and be completed well beyond the initial schedule.

About 70 people attended a meeting last week to receive an update  about  the project that has been in the works for more than a decade. The work is intended to bring the 90-year-old structure that crosses over the L.A. River and 5 Freeway up to modern-day seismic and traffic safety standards.

While the concept of the project has not changed much since it was approved by the City Council in 2015, the estimated cost has risen from about $50 million to $62 million, according city officials.  Construction work on the historic span connecting Atwater Village and Silver Lake is now expected to start in April 2020.  At one point officials said they expected work to begin as early 2016. Of course, that didn’t happen.

The nearly 25% increase in estimated construction costs is largely due to the additional seismic retrofitting of the concrete arches on the Silver Lake side of the span.  In addition, the scope of the project was expanded to include work on some freeway ramps, said Mary Nemick, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Engineering.

The thrust of the project is to bring the 90-year-old structure, which is made up of several separate bridges, up to modern-day seismic and traffic safety standards. But those issues became secondary as the project became embroiled in a heated controversy over efforts to eliminate a lane of traffic across the bridge and make more room for bikes and pedestrians.

Here are some other major elements of the project based on last week’s update:

Timeline:  Work on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge is scheduled to begin in April 2020 and take three years to complete.  Construction of a new pedestrian bridge downriver from the old bridge should begin in April 2019 — the start of the river’s dry season — and be completed by the end of the year.

Detours & Disruption: The bridge will be open throughout construction. Traffic controls will be in place. Freeway ramp closures are still being discussed with Caltrans.

Lane Changes: Once completed, the Glendale-Hyperion bridge will have two traffic lanes in each direction, a bike lane in each direction and one sidewalk on westside of the bridge.

Width: The Glendale Boulevard bridges over the L.A. River will be widened by eight feet

Crosswalk: An additional crosswalk with a signal will be added on southbound Glendale at the Atwater Village end of the bridge.

Historic Restoration: Deteriorated railings along  will be replaced with replica balustrades based on the original railing design.

Freeway Ramp:  Realign the existing I-5 northbound off-ramp in Atwater Village to connect with Glendale Boulevard south of the current exit. This will allow left-hand turns onto southbound Glendale Boulevard in the direction of Silver Lake. Currently drivers  getting off the freeway must make a U-turn at Glendale and Glenfeliz Boulevard.

Bike Ramp: Add an access ramp from northbound Glendale Boulevard to the bike path along the Los Angeles River with an adjacent mini green space.

Pedestrian Bridge: A new pedestrian bridge will be constructed adjacent to the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge atop the concrete pylons that rise up from the river channel.

Update:  New information about the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge will be posted on the project website.

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  1. All one has to do is attempt to ride or walk across this bridge to realize why more people don’t attempt to do so. It really needs more than one additional crosswalk — although the one on the Atwater side is the most necessary.


    • You jump to conclusions. Tell me, why do you think so many people need or want to walk across — for what reason, to do what? A LOT already do, the kids walking to Marshal High, they have a reason and a lot of them do. And the wider sidewalk will be on the same side of the bridge as the school.

      What else is it people would be walking across the long expanse to do within a reasonable walk on the other side? Both sides already have plenty of community type businesses on their own side without walking along distance across that expanse. Even Griffith Park isn’t at Hyperion, its at the Los Feliz Blvd bridge.

      And, just shortly south of the Hyperion bridge there will be pedestrian bridge — the best idea for all those trying to eliminate cars in order to make for pedestrian safety, a pedestrian bridge with no cars!

  2. Adding access to the bike path on the North side of Glendale will eliminate many issues. Much like cars, a bike has to ake a U turn at Glenfeliz to access the South side of GLENDALE TO GET ON TO THE BIKE PATH. If a pedestrian bridge is added on the old rail ptlons, the pedestrians can access either direction of Glendale from the bike path

  3. 2 MORE years until they even start the retrofit. RIDICULOUS! At what heights will the costs be then??

  4. Stoned/distracted drivers (texting), stoned/distracted cyclists (who have no lights/reflectors etc.) and stoned/distracted pedestrians (texting while walking across the street etc.):

    what could go wrong?

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