6th Street Viaduct to include archway stairs

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It is a one-mile span: the link between Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles.

For 82 years, it's how commuters crossed over rail lines and the L.A. River, and it wouldn't be L.A. without a few movie cameos.

You've seen John Travolta race under the 6th Street Viaduct in "Grease," and it is a backdrop for a "Transformers" knock-out too.

Now, an updated plan for the bridge's transformation. Design elements revealed Wednesday morning that will make it more than a bridge.

Think park, soccer field, lookout decks, and a dazzle at night.

"From the deck, the visitor can choose to ascend stairs to the top of an arch for a spectacular view of the city skyline," 6th Street Viaduct Program Manager Alfred Mata said.

"What we've seen in the new design is just incredible and we believe will be just as iconic as the previous," Councilmember Jose Huizar said.

It's a must-do makeover. An earthquake hazard because of what engineers call concrete cancer is eating away at supports.

Federal highway funds will cover most of the $400 million cost.

The goal is to make the bridge user friendly and fun. Glenn Kaino, an artist with roots in Boyle Heights, was selected to design the artwork.

Like his previous creations seen around the world, he is aiming for a "wow" factor and a work that will tell a local story. In this area, he says he is mindful of vandals too.

"Sometimes when things get damaged, the story of them being damaged or the damage by product ends up becoming a more important part of the artwork," Kaino said.

As the vision evolves, demolition of the bridge draws near. Traffic will be shut down this fall until it's all done in 2019.



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