Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar joined with the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) GM Gary Lee Moore, and world-renown architect and bridge designer Michael Matzlan at a presentation in Boyle Heights Monday to show the latest model and update the community on the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project
LOS ANGELES (October 6, 2014) – Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar joined with the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) GM Gary Lee Moore, and world-renown architect and bridge designer Michael Matzlan at a presentation in Boyle Heights Monday to show the latest model and update the community on the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project.
Councilmember Huizar highlighted the fact that with key pedestrian and bicycle access funding recently in jeopardy, he worked to reinstate nearly $20 million.
Huizar’s action comes after the City received a letter from Caltrans this summer stating that previously approved elements for the bridge were no longer eligible for Highway Bridge Program (HBP) funds. These elements included the barrier lighting for the bridge, stairs on top of the arches, stairs to the bridge from the ground below and bicycle/pedestrian ramps to the bridge, as well as the arts plaza area.
Councilmember Huizar sent CD14 staff to Sacramento to speak directly to Caltrans officials. He also reached out to Congressmember Xavier Becerra and State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León who both put their support behind the effort, which resulted in much of the funding being reinstated.
“I strongly believe that this bridge can become a transformative space for Boyle Heights and the Arts District,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The dedicated bicycle lanes, public sidewalks, ramps and stairs and green space are worth fighting for. They are as important to me as the bridge itself. I thank Congressman Becerra and Senator De Leon for their assistance in making sure our new bridge will be as iconic as the original.”
Councilmember Huizar also led an effort to successfully apply for Active Transportation Program (ATP) funds from the state. One of the ATP requirements was the bridge had to be the “full scope of the project.” Since Huizar and the other electeds were able to restore key bridge funding in Sacramento, the City can now accept the additional $2.5 million in grant funding.
And just last week, Huizar announced that he had secured $1 million in order to construct a soccer field below the bridge on the Boyle Heights side. That will be funded through TFAR funds from Downtown’s Metropolis project.
World-renown architect Michael Maltzan, the bridge designer, working with HNTB, took community attendees through a tour of a 47-foot-long scale model of parts of the bridge. BOE provided updates on the project timeline and scope. Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck, the project’s contractors, provided job and contract opportunities to the public.
At over $400 million dollars, the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project is one of the largest public works projects ever undertaken by the City of Los Angeles. The bridge replacement is necessary because the existing bridge has “concrete cancer” or alkali-silica reaction and has a 70 percent chance of failure during a major earthquake over the next 50 years.
Once it was established that the original bridge would have to come down, Councilmember Huizar was the first to call for an international design competition, along with former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and has pushed hard to ensure the new bridge includes dedicated bicycle lanes, wide sidewalks, bicycle/pedestrian ramps, and stairs from the ground to the bridge, setting an example for multi-modal transportation in the city.