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Council Committee Delays Decision on Spring Street Viaduct

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, at 01:36PM
LA River Bridges - N. Spring Street KCET Departures

The 1928 North Spring Street viaduct

In just one week, Councilman Ed Reyes has voted both for and against an environmental document that would likely lead to the demolition of the historic North Spring Street Viaduct.

And he's done it without being at either meeting.

Last week, when the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) came before the city's Board of Public Works, Reyes' support for the project was cited as a key factor in the vote of Cynthia Ruiz, the board's chair. The board voted to approve the item and pass it on the council.

Yesterday, Reyes' was in Washington D.C. when the City Council's Transportation committee voted to continue the item. "[Reyes] would like very much for me to continue this item so he could come back and deal with it," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the committee chair.

The 30-day extension puts a decision past the June date that the city's Bureau of Engineering had been pushing to receive state funding it intends to use as the project's local match. That deadline was extended by the state to the end of August.

The version of the project favored by the bureau would seismically retrofit the viaduct, tearing down most of the existing structure and widening it from 50 feet to 90 feet. Bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks would be added.

Preservationists have asked the city to look at building a separate structure to hold pedestrians and cyclists, keeping the historic 1928 structure largely intact.

The Bureau of Engineering has said that funding such a project would be impossible, since federal seismic money could not be used for the second structure.

Rosendahl said Wednesday that he doesn't think that hurdle is insurmountable. "I am strongly in favor of a separate bridge for the pedestrian [and] bicycle world and leaving this bridge intact," he said. "I have no problem with trying to figure out how we could secure those funds."

The item will next go before a combined meeting of the council's Transportation and Public Works committees, likely in July.

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