Lead Story Northeast Edition

Sixth Street Bridge officially closes

LOS ANGELES — The Sixth Street Bridge, one of four thoroughfares linking downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, closed to traffic Jan. 26 allowing city Bureau of Engineering crews to prepare the bridge for demolition.

Police began blocking the street to traffic at about 8 p.m., although hundreds of people were still on the bridge trying to take pictures or just enjoying the view one last time.

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, the LAPD reported.

“Turned out that one woman was arrested for failing to obey a police command to vacate the bridge,” LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said. She faces a misdemeanor. The crowd was peaceful during its time on the bridge, Lopez added.

“They just wanted to take some pictures,” he said.

A helicopter crew was sent to help officers observe what was happening, and officers on foot were sent to the scene to maintain control, Lopez said. Major demolition work is set to begin next week, necessitating a 40-hour closure of the Hollywood (101) Freeway beginning Feb. 5.

One arch from the old bridge will be preserved during demolition and used in a community space that will be built underneath the bridge, said Rick Coca, an aide to Councilman Jose Huizar.

Huizar, whose district includes the bridge, took a final walk along the bridge Jan. 27, along with the designer of its replacement, Michael Maltzan.

Huizar joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials later in the day to discuss details about closures and detours related to the demolition.

Demolition work is expected to last about nine months and be followed by a $449 million project to build a replacement bridge. The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2019 at the earliest.

Maltzan’s design of the new bridge includes references to the current bridge, including 10 pairs of arches.

Sixth Street becomes Whittier Boulevard on the east end of the bridge, which is being replaced due to deterioration caused by a chemical reaction in the concrete.