Michael Maltzan Architecture’s 6th Street Bridge Design Connects Communities in Los Angeles

The replacement of Los Angeles’s Sixth Street Viaduct is a 3,500-foot-long cast-in-place concrete, network-tied, and through-arch bridge. The original Sixth Street Viaduct was also designed by local firm Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), and will directly connect the Boyle Heights neighborhood to Downtown Los Angeles in under a years time.

Michael Maltzan and HNTB Corporation created a replacement idea and design dubbed “Ribbon of Light,” in 2012. They view it as a chance to transform an auto-centric piece of infrastructure into a community focused structure that represents the 21st-century values of connectivity and walkability.

Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture
Infrastructure Design Firm: HNTB Corporation
General Contractor: Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck
Landscape Architect: Hargreaves Jones

Workers hoisting cables into place on a suspension bridge
The roadway of the new Sixth Street Viaduct is supported with the help of nearly 400 suspension cables. (Gary Leonard/Courtesy the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering)

“The viaduct is more than a simple replacement thoroughfare crossing the Los Angeles River,” noted MMA principal architect Michael Maltzan. “It foresees a multimodal future for Los Angeles, one that accommodates cars, incorporates significant new bicycle connections, and increases connectivity for pedestrians, not only at the bridge’s endpoints, but along the entirety of the span, linking the bridge, the Los Angeles River, and urban landscapes below.”

Rendering of the sixth street viaduct spanning a jumble of roads
The project spans over a mesh of railroads, highways, and the Los Angeles River. Work on a new public park will begin shortly after the bridge is completed in summer 2022. (Courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture)

“The new bridge is base isolated, allowing it to move independently from the ground below in the event of an earthquake,” said MMA associate Paul Stoelting. “The base isolators are steel, triple-friction bearings, 6 feet in diameter and placed on top of each foundational shaft, which allow movement of 30 inches in any direction.”

Workers casting concrete arches in place
The arches are built of cast-in-place concrete poured at a rate of 4 vertical feet per hour. (Gary Leonard/Courtesy the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering)

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