Demolition work of the Sixth Street bridge in August of 2016.

In a major delay to the Sixth Street Viaduct replacement project, the contractor in charge of its construction now estimates the bridge will be completed in early 2022, Curbed LA reported this week. The budget for the project, now expected to be completed in about three years, has increased $6 million to a total estimate of about $488 million.

Curbed LA cites a report by the Bureau of Engineering that was to be presented to to the Board of Public Works on Friday, which states that the delays can be attributed to issues of coordination with multiple rail agencies involved, as well as unspecified challenges in the construction. 

New bridge design. Image courtesy of Council District 14

The new delay pushes the project’s completion date another 20 months, to March 2022. The demolition of the bridge and subsequent construction has been blamed for increased traffic jams, especially for morning commuters traveling from Boyle Heights to downtown Los Angeles.

The iconic bridge, tied to Boyle Heights popular culture, was torn down due to concerns it would eventually collapse because of a chemical reaction affecting its cement pillars. Initially projected to be completed by this year, the completion date had been pushed to late 2020 before its most recent delay. 

The new Sixth Street Viaduct was designed by architect Michael Maltzan. A 12-acre park below the bridge is slated to begin construction in 2022 and will span the LA River in both the Arts District and Boyle Heights. Plans for the project include a skate park, soccer fields, gardens, and picnic areas.

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