The iconic 6th Street Viaduct project in Los Angeles reaches a technical milestone

Diving letter:

  • The much filmed and photographed 6th Street Bridge in Los Angeles, which connects the Arts District to the west and Boyle Heights to the east, is currently being rebuilt and has reached a technical milestone. The first of 10 spans has been installed and the underlying falsework removed, engineering advisory group COWI, the assembly engineer for the $ 588 million project, said in a press release.
  • The original bridge was from 1932 demolished in 2016 after studies showed it was highly susceptible to major earthquake failure, along with other safety flaws, said the LA Bureau of Engineering project website.
  • Run by a Skanska-Stacy and Witbeck JV, the new viaduct is the largest bridge project in the city’s history according to the project location and spans the 101 freeway, several railroad lines and the Los Angeles River. It Groundbreaking in 2015 and should be completed by the middle of this year.

Dive Insight:

The original 6th Street viaduct was the longest of 14 historic bridges. It has been widely used to portray the somber side of Los Angeles in films, music videos, and commercials, according to the project page, and is most commonly known for its appearance on the classic film musical “Grease”. The design of the replacement, which is based on the original with its curved arches and is illuminated at night, is known as “The Band of Light”.

The completed bridge will be 3,060 feet long and 30 meters wide, with 10 network arch spans and 388 hangers supporting the bridge deck. It also includes four lanes, sidewalks, and bike paths.

“If you consider each arch span as an individual bridge, then this essentially marks the completion of the first of 10 bridges – which makes this such an exciting milestone for the project,” said Tobias Petschke, Senior Project Manager at COWI North America, in the Press release.

The next step in the project is to close the superstructure, followed by mounting the hanger in the second field. Once the bridge is completed, the city’s engineering firm will build a 12 hectare park underneath.

To ensure the safety of construction workers and motorists during construction, COWI designed bespoke bridging devices to stabilize the bridge’s self-aligning seismic bearings and helped monitor the falsework that supports the deck and suspension forces as it is installed over the highway.

“The opportunity to bring our expertise to such projects is a reminder of how important our work is,” said Petschke in the press release. “By using some of the most advanced techniques, we can ensure the safe and solid construction of complex infrastructure projects.”

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