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City officials announce final design for new 6th Street Bridge

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at 09:57AM
via HNTB

A rendering of the winning design for the new 6th Street Bridge.

The 6th Street bridge, which connects DTLA to Boyle Heights and has been deemed at risk of collapsing during a major earthquake, inches closer to its demolition after city officials announced the final design plans for the new span. Selected from three finalists, Mayor Villaraigosa, councilman José Huizar and City engineer Gary Lee Moore announced HNTB as the winning design firm at a press conference on Friday.

This company's design includes canted cable supported arches and "community gathering space" on both sides of the L.A. River -- as well as direct access to the river.

"The HNTB Sixth Street Viaduct conceptual design - a ribbon of arches - melds current structural technology with an aesthetic vision that embraces the entire 3,500-foot length,” said Moore in a statement. “It will be an infrastructure element that I anticipate will become an icon for Los Angeles.”

In addition to the new bridge which includes designated pedestrian zones, HNTB's proposal includes features for underneath the span -- including playgrounds, park space and even a skate park.

The current 6th Street bridge, also known as the 6th Street Viaduct, is 80 years old and suffering from Alkali Silica Reaction (ASR) -- a type of "concrete cancer" that effects the structural integrity of the bridge. Huizar has called the structure the "most at-risk bridge in the city to collapse during a major earthquake."

In-depth studies on the viaduct began about six years ago and in November 2011, the L.A. City Council voted to demolish and rebuild it. The bridge is now poised to be reconstructed under the new HNTB design.

“This bridge by HNTB honors the history of the original while boldly looking towards the future with major river, pedestrian, multi-modal and community gathering features," said Huizar in a statement. "Our new bridge will not only bring people from Point A to Point B, but to Point C – the bridge itself. It will be a shining-star destination spot worthy of the City of Angels.”

Two other design firms, AECOM and Parsons Brinckerhoff, were also chosen as finalists in the international design competition intended to solicit ideas for the new bridge. Huizar described the proposals from all three finalist firms as capturing "the need to create an iconic bridge that will replace, unfortunately, another iconic bridge."

HNTB was selected as the final winner by a panel consisting of engineering, architecture and design professionals from Caltrans, the Bureau of Engineering and Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee. According to the mayor's office, construction is expected to begin on the new bridge in 2015 pending approval from the Board of Public Works and the City Council.

The redesign and construction of the $401 million new bridge is estimated to be completed in late 2018 and open in 2019. City officials say it is the largest bridge project the Bureau of Engineering has undertaken. The majority of the funding for the new structure comes from the Federal Highway Bridge Program, with contributions from state and local funds.

An animated rendering of the HNTB design:

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