Sixth Street Viaduct

Coordinates: 34°2′17″N 118°13′37″W / 34.03806°N 118.22694°W / 34.03806; -118.22694 (Sixth Street Viaduct)
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6th Street Viaduct
6th Street bridge Los Angeles Sunscape 1.jpg
The replaced Sixth Street Viaduct looking toward Downtown Los Angeles at sunset; 2022
Coordinates34°2′17″N 118°13′37″W / 34.03806°N 118.22694°W / 34.03806; -118.22694 (Sixth Street Viaduct)
Carries6th Street/Whittier Boulevard
CrossesMetrolink tracks, Los Angeles River, Union Pacific Railroad tracks, Santa Ana Freeway, Golden State Freeway, several local streets
LocaleDowntown and Boyle Heights areas of Los Angeles, California
Official nameSixth Street Bridge from the LA River
Other name(s)6th Street Viaduct
Maintained byCity of Los Angeles and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
ID number53C-1880 (City of Los Angeles), 53-0595 (Caltrans)
MaterialReinforced concrete and steel
Total length3,500 feet (1,100 m)
Width46 feet (14 m)
Opened1932; 91 years ago (1932) (Original viaduct)
July 9, 2022; 10 months ago (2022-07-09) (Replacement viaduct)
Closed2016; 7 years ago (2016) (Original viaduct)

The Sixth Street Viaduct, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, is a viaduct bridge that connects the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles with the Boyle Heights neighborhood.

The Sixth Street Viaduct spans the Los Angeles River, the Santa Ana Freeway (US 101), and the Golden State Freeway (I-5), as well as Metrolink (Orange County and 91 lines), Amtrak (Pacific Surfliner and Southwest Chief), and Union Pacific (along with Metrolink's Riverside Line) railroad tracks and several local streets. The original, which opened in 1932 and demolished in 2016, was replaced; the replacement was officially opened in 2022.

The predecessor was composed of three independent structures: the reinforced concrete west segment, the central steel arch segment over the river, and the reinforced concrete east segment. In 1986, the Caltrans bridge survey found the Sixth Street Viaduct eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

The demolition of the predecessor bridge was due to serious structural issues, including several large cracks, resulting from the high alkaline content of the concrete composition, due to architectural unsophistication. As a result, concerns over the structure’s seismic instability outweighed its historical status, leading to its closure for demolition and replacement in January 2016. The new replacement bridge was completed six years later and opened on July 9, 2022.

Demolition and replacement[edit]

Demolition of the predecessor viaduct bridge in April 2016
First stages of falsework for the Sixth Street Viaduct replacement looking west over the LA River
The new viaduct during construction as seen from Boyle Heights on June 22, 2021.

During the construction of the viaduct in the 1930s, an onsite plant was used to supply the concrete for construction. However, the quality of the concrete turned out to have a high alkali content and led to an alkali-silica reaction (ASR), which created cracks in the concrete and sapped the strength of the structure. It is the only one of the historic L.A. River viaduct bridges to suffer from ASR.

Estimates stated that the viaduct had a 70% probability of collapse due to a major earthquake within 50 years.[2][3] After initial demolition plans were delayed,[4] the bridge was closed on January 27, 2016, and demolition began on February 5, 2016. It took nine months to demolish the existing bridge.

Prior to the demolition, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti recorded the R&B song "101SlowJam", backed by musicians from the city's Roosevelt High School, and issued it via a video on his own YouTube channel. The public service announcement video advertised the closure of parts of the 101 Freeway to accommodate the demolition of the viaduct.[5][6] An estimated 48,000 cubic yards (37,000 m3) of concrete, 1,245 tons of structural steel, and 4,200 tons of rebar were hauled away as construction began on the replacement.[7]

The newly completed bridge is designed by architect Michael Maltzan and the HNTB Design-Build team and contractors Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck.[8] The new design has several green spaces built under and around it. Bridge construction has experienced several years-long construction delays and multimillion-dollar cost increases. When opened, the new span included single-direction bicycle lanes separated from motor traffic with rubber curb bumps and impact-forgiving bollards, a design feature that was universally panned as unsafe and dangerous to cyclists using the bridge. A need for emergency vehicle access was given as justification for this design decision by officials, however this has been challenged by advocacy groups and community members. The bridge opened on July 9, 2022.[9][10]

Cultural depictions[edit]

The former bridge was a well-known local landmark, and was iconic due to appearing in numerous films, television shows, music videos and video games since 1932.[11]


Music videos[edit]


Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of the Sixth Street Viaduct". Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Sixth Street Viaduct has Cancer; Suggested Treatment: New Bridge". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Safety Concerns for Sixth Street Bridge". Los Angeles Downtown News. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Sixth Street Bridge gets temporary reprieve from demolition". The Eastsider LA. January 11, 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  5. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 28, 2016). "[WATCH] 101 Freeway Closure: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Slow-Jams Reminder". Deadline. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  6. ^ #101SlowJam on YouTube
  7. ^ "New 6th Street Viaduct is a bridge to a different future". Los Angeles Times. June 1, 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project". NationBuilder. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Dramatic new 6th Street Bridge opens, delivering a 'love letter' to Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. July 9, 2022.
  10. ^ Sharp, Stephen (June 16, 2022). "New Sixth Street Viaduct to open on July 9". Urbanize LA. Urbanize Media.
  11. ^ Koeppel, Dan (February 9, 2016). "Exit L.A.'s Most Cinematic Bridge". The Atlantic.

External links[edit]