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Form + Function: The Sixth Street Viaduct Reimagined

Form + Function The Sixth Street Viaduct Reimagined

Los Angeles is no stranger to metamorphosis. As it were, our beautiful city is about to undergo a major change to her iconic landscape in the form of the Sixth Street Viaduct, which is being replaced with a more contemporary (and safer) design. Don’t think you’ve ever seen the viaduct and bridge before? Let me stop you, you’ve most definitely seen and it and, quite possibly, driven over it. If you haven’t seen it in person, you’ve absolutely seen it in a number of films: Grease, Terminator 2, Gone in 60 Seconds, and more! If this still isn’t ringing a bell, you can get up close and personal with the bridge via the webcam embedded below. You might ask yourself, if this is such a historical landmark, why is it being torn down and, more importantly, what’s going up in its place? Good questions.

Firstly, to clarify, the demolition and replacement of the Sixth Street Viaduct is necessary and long overdue. The concrete used for the construction of the original viaduct contained a high alkali content, which over time caused the creation of cracks in the structure. It’s said that if there were a major earthquake, the probability of a collapse is 70% or more! Sadly, the problem is so deeply embedded in the structure that restoring the bridge is not an option either. Subsequently, the city launched a contest to find a winning design to replace the original, which you can see above.

Three design finalists submitted beautiful concept art of their visions, but one firm stood far above the rest; engineering firm HNTB walked away with the contract. Personally, it’s no surprise to me that they won as their vision for the viaduct is not only visually stunning, but functional as well. The large concrete structure will accommodate pedestrian and cyclist traffic, as well as revitalize the surrounding areas into community centers. There are talks of new playgrounds and pedestrian promenades which will make the once desolate area into burgeoning town squares. This all sounds super exciting, but don’t strap on your walking shoes just yet! With all the paperwork and red tape, construction won’t begin until 2015, putting the finish line at some time around 2018! Well, as anxious as we all are, I’m sure the new structure and amazing views will be worth the wait! In the meantime, stay up-to-date on the project via this official website.

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Elba Flamenco loves everything about the city. She’s a YouTube junkie, reader, writer and foodie. What she loves most about L.A. is that every outing, even for the most mundane of tasks, can result in learning something new about the city. It’s just fucking cool here.


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