Despite engineers’ opposition, LA getting new bridge to the future

Three years ago, Architect Michael Maltzan said his design for the new 6th Street Viaduct would be the shape of LA’s future. It crosses the Los Angeles “River” (actually just an ugly, dysfunctional engineering mistake at that point), connecting downtown and Boyle Heights.

Some engineers at the time believed that his “wavy line design”, which translated to a succession of arches rising above and below the roadway between Santa Fe Avenue and the 101 Freeway, was outlandish, expensive and far too risky a concept to win a competition.

They had their own idea: a single, signature span over the Los Angeles River. The rest would be an elevated roadway, just as it has been with the existing structure. Maltzan pushed back.

The new design had to do more than merely cross the river, the railroad tracks and the warehouses and streets lying in its shadow, he said. It should integrate the city.

The squiggle — more than just a bridge, he argued — represented a new way to think about Los Angeles. It is now a $428-million public works project for the city of Los Angeles. It is expected to open in 2019.

[Photo credit: HNTB]

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