Los Angeles announces global search for new 6th Street Bridge design

Jerry Gorin/KPCC

View north along the L.A. River toward the 6th Street Bridge. The L.A. City Council voted to demolish the bridge last November, and is now on the look-out for a design team.

The Sixth Street Bridge connects Boyle Heights to downtown Los Angeles. Built in 1932, the structure is one of downtown's most iconic roadways, appearing in countless films and television shows. But the 80-year-old structure has shown signs of wear almost from the day it opened, with cracks in the concrete and corroding cement.

Engineers say the bridge would not survive a major earthquake.

Finally, last November, L.A. City Councilmembers voted to put the bridge down and replace the structure…with something else. Council members say they want a design that honors the bridge’s history, but also reflects the city’s style of today.

Caltrans and L.A.’s Bureau of Engineering are reaching out to engineers and architects around the world, in a two-stage competition.

First, the candidates will have to clear a qualifications phase. The selected teams that remain will then be asked to submit their designs.

A winner will be chosen in the fall.

Construction is supposed to start in 2015 and take three years, with the federal government footing much of the bill.

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