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Transportation and Mobility

The New 6th Street Bridge Opens This Weekend In LA

A view of the 6th Street Viaduct and the downtown skyline from Boyle Heights.
The 6th Street Viaduct connecting Boyle Heights with downtown L.A. is scheduled to reopen July 9 and 10th.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist)
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The new 6th Street Viaduct will open to the public on Sunday. Spanning the Los Angeles River, the bridge connects the Arts District and Boyle Heights.

Construction on the project — billed as the largest bridge project in city history — began in 2016 with the demolition of the beloved old bridge. Councilmember Kevin de León said the replacement was necessary because the existing bridge, constructed in 1932, could not withstand an earthquake.

"Anyone and everyone who would have been on that bridge if the earthquake were to hit L.A. would have perished," he said. "It just was not seismically solid any longer."

The new bridge, which cost $588 million dollars, features arches with color-changing LED lights. A new 12-acre park below it has access to the L.A. River.

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"We're going to have three soccer fields and basketball courts, open space," said de León. "In a city that's always historically been parked starved ... this is a huge added benefit."

The crew that build the bridge was one of the largest female crews of any public works projects in the nation, according to officials.

A grand opening on the bridge will be held Friday evening, and pedestrian and bike traffic will be allowed starting on Sunday at 11 a.m. Cars will be allowed after 7 p.m. Sunday night.

De León said he expects the new bridge to become as iconic as the Hollywood Sign or the Griffith Observatory.

"It's a new, iconic symbol for the city of L.A., [and] it's also a rebirth," he said. "I think it's going to bring a lot of pride to L.A. as a whole, but especially for folks on the east side."

While the bridge separates pedestrian traffic from bikes and cars with a concrete barrier, safety advocates are raising concerns that rubber boards and bollards intended to protect cyclists are not sufficient. The L.A. Department of Transportation said in a statement that the bridge's bike lanes "are the highest level of protection that could be accommodated by the width of the bridge while also allowing emergency vehicles to enter."

Construction crews on the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct.
Construction workers put the finishing touches on the new 6th Street Viaduct.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist)
An upward view of the new 6th Street Viaduct alongside some palm trees.
A view of the new 6th Street Viaduct connecting Boyle Heights to downtown L.A.. The bridge is scheduled for reopening July 9 and 10th.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist)
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The view of a ramp on the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct.
The view of a ramp on the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct connecting Boyle Heights with downtown L.A.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist)
Councilmember Kevin de León speaks with workers on the 6th Street Viaduct ahead of its opening.
Councilmember Kevin de León speaks with workers on the 6th Street Viaduct ahead of its opening.
(Raquel Natalicchio for LAist)
Bike lanes pictures in the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct.
Bike lanes on the newly constructed 6th Street Viaduct. The city claims rubber boards and bollards protect the lanes — not yet installed at the time of the photo — but community activists claim it is not sufficient protection for cyclists.
(Julia Paskin
/
LAist)
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Updated July 8, 2022 at 5:49 PM PDT
This story has been updated with a response from the L.A. Department of Transportation.