Large crowds gather as iconic Sixth Street Bridge sets to close

- The Sixth Street Viaduct will close to traffic early Wednesday morning so city Bureau of Engineering crews can prepare the bridge for demolition.

Major demolition work is set to begin next week, necessitating a 40-hour closure of the Hollywood (101) Freeway on Feb. 5.

One arch from the old bridge will be preserved during demolition and used in a community space that will be built underneath the bridge, said Rick Coca, an aide to Councilman Jose Huizar.

Huizar, whose district includes the bridge, will take a "final walk" along the bridge Wednesday morning, along with the designer of its replacement, Michael Maltzan.

Huizar will join Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials later in the day to discuss details about closures and detours related to the demolition.

Demolition work is expected to last about nine months and be followed by a $449 million project to build a replacement bridge. The new bridge is anticipated to be completed by 2019 at the earliest.

Maltzan's design of the new bridge includes references to the current bridge, including 10 pairs of arches.

The bridge, which joins Boyle Heights with downtown Los Angeles, is being replaced due to deterioration caused by a chemical reaction in the concrete.

A crowd of about 100 people gathered on the bridge Tuesday night to take photos and view a car club gathering in advance of the bridge's closure, police said. Los Angeles police officers turned out in force to move the people
off the bridge so city crews could begin putting up fencing to keep the span clear, the LAPD reported.

"Turned out that one woman was arrested for failing to obey a police command to vacate the bridge," LAPD Officer Mike Lopez said. She faces a misdemeanor. The crowd was peaceful during its time on the bridge, Lopez said.

"They just wanted to take some pictures," he said.

A helicopter crew was sent to help officers observe what was happening, and officers on foot were sent to the scene to maintain control, Lopez said.

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