Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine
Aug 152016

The Old Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge (also known as The Sixth Street Viaduct) has been Downtown Los Angeles landmark since 1932. It “starred” in several box office hits such as “Grease” and “Terminator 2” to mention just a few as well as in a slew of TV shows.

The demolition of the bridge started in February 2016 and caused the closure of 101 Freeway. On Saturday, August 13th 2016 another milestone was celebrated: The Sixth Street Bridge Giveaway. It was called Rock Day L.A. – Own a Piece of the Sixth Street Viaduct. Everybody was invited to get a free piece of the old viaduct. The event was held between 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 585 S. Santa Fe in Los Angeles CA 90015, next to the Sixth Street Viaduct. All rocks included a Certificate of Authenticity. There was food, music and other activities as well as pictures of the new, replacement viaduct that will replace the old, Sixth Street Bridge.

The Sixth Street Viaduct connectes the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles with the Boyle Heights neighborhood since 1932. It bridged the Los Angeles River, the Santa Ana Freeway (US 101), the Golden State Freeway (I-5), as well as Metrolink and Union Pacific railroad tracks not to mention several streets.

Even though the Sixth Street Viaduct was found eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, it was closed for demolition in January of 2016 due to safety concerns.

The original bridge constructed in early 1930 was build of concrete with a high alkali content which led to an alkali-silica reaction (ASR) resulting in cracking of the concrete and weakening of the structure. According to current estimates, there was a 70% probability of the Sixth Street Viaduct’s collapse in a major earthquake.

Earthquake warnings not withstanding, many Angelenos loved the old Sixth Street Bridge. It had sentimental value. It had a place in our hearts, minds and memories. Even the city engineer Gary Lee Moore expressed his nostalgia while watching the initial demolition of the Sixth Street Bridge in February: “These pylons were the gateway to Los Angeles.”

The new Sixth Street Bridge was designed Michael Maltzan, a talented architect who designed several other remarkable projects.
The new Sixth Street Bridge promises to be not only safer and contemporary-looking, but more bike and pedestrian-friendly than the old structure.
The unveiling of the new Sixth Street Bridge is anticipated for 2019.


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