BY BARRY LANK

Echo Park  —  The renovation and retrofitting of the First Street Bridge at the southern edge of Echo Park has begun. But the idea for creating a new plaza seems to have fallen away.

Not to be confused with the First Street Bridge that crosses the L.A. River between Boyle Heights and Downtown, this lesser known span crosses over Glendale Boulevard. Built in 1942, the nearly 1,000-foot-long bridge and ramps forms a southern gateway to Echo Park where it crosses over Glendale. The middle span alone is about 200-feet long.

The 54-foot-wide concrete bridge is being widened by 2.5 feet on each side, and getting an earthquake retrofit.

Utilities have been relocated and retrofitting has begun under the structure, said Mary Nemick, director of communications at the Bureau of Engineering.

An earlier story about the renovation mentioned vague plans to “re-envision” the gloomy underpass space, which is frequently filled with trash and homeless encampments. As of now, though, nothing new is planned for that area.

“We will restore the area to its original condition after construction is done,” Nemick said. “So no, not adding a plaza.”

The current cost estimate is now $11 million – up 10 percent form the original estimate two years ago. Construction is expected to be completed by late fall, 2020, Nemick said.

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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher

The Eastsider

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