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Heritage Commission Asks 6th Street Bridge Project For More Preservation Effort

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, July 31, 2009, at 09:04AM
Bridge_night.jpg Ed Fuentes

This "3-Dual Tower Cable Supported Viaduct" design is one of the modern design options being studied as a possible replacement for the 6th Street Bridge.

The city's Cultural Heritage Commission wants more study put into possible strategies that would save part or all of the historic 6th Street Viaduct, built in 1933.

If the bridge could not be saved, though, the commissioners seemed split on whether the best choice for replacement would be one that recreates the original or one that uses more modern design.

The last of the monumental bridges built across the Los Angeles River, the 6th Street Viaduct is hailed as an example of Art Deco / streamline moderne design.

The structure suffers from ASR, a condition described as "cancer" for concrete, in which a growth inside the concrete causes it to expand and crack. After much study, the city is leaning toward tearing the bridge down and building a new one in its place.

After a two-hour presentation and hearing, the body unanimously voted to approve a letter drafted by Planning department preservation staff that asks for more study to be put into preservation options.

Commissioners Glen Dake and Oz Scott seemed to split from Richard Barron and Roella Louie when it came to the topic of what should be erected should the structure have to come down. The former two seemed more open to a new design, while the latter two seemed to prefer a faithful recreation of the original bridge.

Were a new design chosen, Dake and Scott asked that the city find the money to build something remarkable. "If it's going to be a new design, make it something that 50 to 100 years from now will be a historic monument," said Scott. Dake asked that a new structure be "truly worthy of the tradition of the L.A. River bridges."

Comments will continue to be accepted on the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report until August 17. At that point the project team will respond to the comments in a Final EIR. The final choice on how the project would proceed will come from Caltrans and the City Council sometime next year.

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