Old Sixth Street Bridge Will Meet Its Maker Sometime in February—Maybe

The 1932 span is set to kick the bucket next month, but its replacement is a thing of beauty

Correction: January 7, 12:11 p.m.
According to one city official at the Department of Public Works, previous documents stating the Sixth Street Bridge’s demolition would take place on January 8 are incorrect. The city anticipates the bridge will close sometime in February, although a major rain event related to El Niño could push the date back even further.

The historic Sixth Street Viaduct—a 3,500 foot-long bridge that connects the Arts District with Boyle Heights—is now closed to vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. If all goes as planned, crews will begin demolishing the bridge on Friday to make way for a flashy $449 million replacement—the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles.

The old bridge began to deteriorate just two decades after it was built in 1932; a chemical reaction known as alkali-silica reaction caused significant deterioration, and a 2004 study found it’s susceptible to collapse during an earthquake.

Everyone’s a little bummed about the closing of the viaduct, which figured prominently in many films and TV shows. (A book and video documentary are being made on the old incarnation.) Thankfully, architect Michael Maltzan has designed a gorgeous replacement, which features giant, accessible, undulating ribbons that reach to the sky. There will be wide sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as improved access for cars (Caltrans is currently working on improving numerous intersections near the bridge).

The viaduct’s base will also feature eight new acres of green space, enlivening the relatively-bleak area with people and public art.

So how does one get around during the three-year construction process? Easy: Just use 7th or 4th streets (ostensibly the former, since it has more capacity). Project officials suggest drivers use Alameda Street or Central Avenue to get to 7th. Check out the map below.

Detour map
Detour map

Map courtesy Sixth Street Viaduct Project