The 3,500-foot concrete span is a Los Angeles icon. But the 80-year-old bridge isn't holding up well. A chemical reaction in the concrete is causing the bridge to crack and break a part. Costly restorative methods have not worked, and the only option left was to rebuild.
Designing such an aesthetic, architectural and social symbol was not taken lightly. An international competition was held and HNTB was unveiled as the winning design Friday.
Officials say the new bridge successfully integrates Boyle Heights and the Art District into its design and uses the space below the bridge as well.
"What I love about this design in particular is the way it integrates itself with the river," said Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the design also hold value for the public.
"It will provide new access to the historic L.A. River through bike ways and walk ways and borders of green space," he said.
The $401 million project will be mostly funded by federal dollars. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and should take three years to complete. Principal architect Michael Maltzan says the bridge design symbolizes a balance between the past and the future.
"To make a bridge that represents our future, that represents what Los Angeles is merging into as a city, not just what we are today," he said.