The Sixth Street Viaduct, a Los Angeles landmark famous for its appearances in films such as “Grease” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” was closed to traffic Wednesday in preparation for its demolition next week.
Bureau of Engineering crews are preparing the bridge for the demolition work, which is set to begin Feb. 5 and will necessitate a 40-hour closure of the Hollywood (101) Freeway.
A crowd of about 100 people gathered on the bridge Tuesday night to take photos and view a car club meet-up in advance of the bridge’s closure. The spontaneous gathering was dispersed after Los Angeles police officers turned out in force to move the people off the bridge so city crews could begin putting up fencing to keep the span clear.
At least one person was arrested, but most of the people who came out to see the bridge were peaceful and just wanted to get pictures, police said.
Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes the bridge, took a “final walk” along the bridge this morning with City Engineer Gary Lee Moore and the designer of its replacement, Michael Maltzan.
For Eastside residents who used it to commute to jobs in downtown Los Angeles, the bridge “represented opportunity,” Huizar told City News Service.
Huizar said that like many residents, he is “a bit sad, nostalgic, but at the same time optimistic about the new bridge.”
The new bridge design includes “beautiful vista points” as well as a community plaza underneath that will make it “a destination point, not only a means to get over the river,” he said.
One arch from the old bridge will be preserved during demolition and used in the community space beneath the bridge, according to Rick Coca, an aide to Huizar.
Huizar urged the public to adjust their traffic habits now that the bridge is closed and a 40-hour freeway closure is set to begin next week.
To accommodate the demolition, a 2.5-mile segment of the 101 Freeway will be closed from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway split to the interchange of the Golden State (5), 10 and 101 freeways south of downtown Los Angeles from 10 p.m. Feb. 5 until 2 p.m. Feb. 7.
Drivers going west on the Pomona (60) Freeway out of Pomona will not be able to get onto the 101.
Mayor Eric Garcetti dubbed the planned closure as the “101 Slow Jam.”
“We all love slow jams and this one will be a little tough to get through,” Garcetti said during a news conference at the bridge. “But you’ve hopefully by now heard about the 101 Slow Jam because a major freeway closure is coming here to Los Angeles, and we showed during ‘Carmageddon’ and ‘Jamzilla’ … that we know how to deal with these moments.”
Demolition work is expected to last about nine months. The new bridge is expected to be completed by 2019 at the earliest. The replacement project will cost about $449 million.
Maltzan’s design of the new bridge includes references to the current bridge, including 10 pairs of arches.
The bridge, which joins Boyle Heights with downtown Los Angeles, is being replaced due to deterioration caused by a chemical reaction in the concrete.
The bridge was built in 1932 and has been seen in dozens of movies, including two “Terminator” films, “Horrible Bosses,” “The Mask,” “Furious 7,” “The Mask,” “Point Blank” and “To Live and Die in L.A.” It is featured prominently in a classic race scene in “Grease.” A number of musicians have filmed videos on or around the bridge, including Madonna, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Avril Lavigne, Foo Fighters and Pharrell Williams.
Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Fund announced Wednesday a $1.9 million donation from developer Leonard Hill to help build a stage and organize programming for the arts plaza under the bridge.
The fund is a nonprofit set up by Garcetti to receive private donations from philanthropists and other groups.
Funding has also been identified for a potential soccer field below the bridge, according to Coca.
—Staff and wire reports
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