Design Teams Shortlisted for Sixth Street Bridge; You Can Chime In

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this DnA, we talked about plans to replace LA’s classic Sixth Street Viaduct (shown, left, photo: Kevin Break) and the good news that the Bureau of Engineering had raised the bar in terms of design ambition. One of the guests on that show was Alex Ward, Chairman of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), which had campaigned for several years for a bridge with vision. Now a shortlist of teams has been selected. Alex Ward gives us the update:

On September 12, river advocates and urbanistas alike will get a first glimpse of the future for the $400 million replacement of downtown’s ailing Sixth Street Bridge. Three teams – led by engineering giants AECOM, Parsons Brinckerhoff and HNTB – will present their design proposals in a competition sponsored by the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering. Each of the three teams includes experienced bridge designers among their line-ups, but none with the international name-recognition of a Santiago Calatrava or Norman Foster. Star power seems to be less of a qualifier here than competence.

The real question is – which of the three proposed designs best creates a landmark structure as striking as the one that is being torn down, and also promotes the vision of a revitalized Los Angeles River and downtown?

The winning scheme will need to address the knotty problem of access to the river, currently cut off by multiple rail lines on both banks. It should also promote open space, bikeways, pedestrian amenities, and neighborhood improvements. At 3500 feet long, this project will have a major impact all the way from Boyle Heights to the Arts District.

This is a tall order to fill, especially given the tight $190 million budget for actual construction. Who will produce the thrilling new landmark and catalyst to revitalization we are all hoping for? Come and find out on September 12.

The designs will be presented in public forums on September 12, 13, 17 and 18. For more information, click here.