Digital rendering from the Environmental Impact Report of the 6th Street Bridge. / Photo from Los Angeles City Bureau of Engineering.
Digital rendering from the Environmental Impact Report of the 6th Street Bridge. / Photo from Los Angeles City Bureau of Engineering.

Originally published in LA Streetsblog

At the announcement of the Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee for the 6th Street Bridge on July 9, one of the biggest issues was the opposing ideas for a design that respects the past, against one that represents the future.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us to create a symbol for L.A. and an example of infrastructure done in this moment in the most sensitive way possible,” said Deborah Weintraub, chief deputy city engineer.

Community members from the Downtown Arts District, historical and conservatory groups, city government, and Boyle Heights had similar views on things like making the bridge a destination. But, people differed on what kind of experience it should create.

The project budget is $401 million, with $190 million for construction. The consultant is expected to complete the final design by 2014; construction will begin a year later, and will finish by 2018.

The river, landscaping, bicycle, pedestrian element that was included in the construction budget was allocated $5 million.

“There’s clear expectations on what we are doing with that money,” said Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer. Funding for the project, which comes from the Federal Highway Administration and the California Department of Transportation, has left the City with little flexibility on how to use the money, Moore said.

The demolition and reconstruction of the 6th Street Bridge is due to a condition in the concrete known as Alkai Silica Reaction, which causes the cement to disintegrate.

The three consultants chosen on July 31 will give public presentations on their proposed designs on September 12-13. The Bureau of Engineering will give two more presentations to the public on September 17-18.

The DAAC, which is made up of community members, academics and business owners, will give input on the bridge’s aesthetics, roadways under it, the colors, textures, lighting, railings, and the gateways elements. Yet, the actual makeup of the committee had one glaring detail: the exclusion of women on the committee.

When Michael McClure, planning officer for the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, asked why there were no women on the committee, Moore smiled and scratched his head in response. To see a list of the DAAC committee, click here.

Visit to read comments made by community members about their expectations for the project.

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