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Sixth Street Bridge

Building LA's New Landmark Bridge

Posted on August 4, 2022

A Local Landmark

The original Sixth Street Bridge (also known as the Sixth Street Viaduct) was a viaduct bridge that crossed the Los Angeles River and connected Boyle Heights to Downtown LA's Arts District. Built in the 1930s, the original bridge can be seen in many famous movies and music videos, including films like Grease and Terminator 2: Judgement Day and music videos by Madonna, Kanye West, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the bridge's distinct architectural style, it was a very popular and well-known landmark.

The original Sixth Street Viaduct crossing the LA River in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Taken 2015

Demolition and Construction

After it was discovered that the original Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge had severe structural issues, with large cracks and seismic instability issues, it was decided that it needed to be demolished and a new bridge would be built in its place. Beginning in February 2016, the original Sixth Street Viaduct was demolished and then construction of the new Sixth Street Bridge began. The design of the new bridge incorporated "the Ribbon of Light" design, which paid homage to the historic arch design of original bridge.

Michael Maltzan Architecture was the architecture firm behind the new bridge, who took the design by HNTB-Design which won the international design competition for the new Sixth Street Viaduct bridge. Construction was done by Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck, in a joint venture for the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project.

Supports for the new Sixth Street Bridge are constructed along the banks of the LA River, in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Taken 2017

Construction of the Sixth Street Bridge Support Structure in Boyle Heights, California. Taken 2018

The New Sixth Street Bridge Opening Weekend

On July 9, 2022, the new Sixth Street Bridge was opened. There were a variety of events planned for opening weekend, including a group of lowriders cruising along the bridge.

Lowriders and classic cars parked on the newly-opened Sixth Street Bridge on opening weekend. Taken July 2022.

Aerial photo of the newly-constructed Sixth Street Bridge, which connects Boyle Heights and Downtown Los Angeles (pictured), on opening weekend. Taken July 2022

A Too Popular Landmark?

It didn't take long before the newly-constructed Sixth Street Bridge started attracting a lot of unwanted attention. The bridge has been sporadically closed down for safety in response to some visitors using it as a location to do donuts and burnouts in their cars.

Tire tracks on the newly-opened Sixth Street Bridge a couple weeks after it was opened. Taken 2022