LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Angelenos gathered Saturday for a festival at the Sixth Street Bridge to bid farewell to an iconic bridge that has long served as a Los Angeles landmark.
A debilitating chemical reaction in its concrete was found to be eating away at the bridge's structure, necessitating a project to replace it with a new one designed by architect Michael Maltzan.
With the bridge's closure and demolition in January drawing near, Councilman Jose Huizar hosted a goodbye festival to give Los Angeles families and fans of the bridge one of their last opportunities to see and enjoy it.
"While we are building a world-class bridge for the future that will provide Angelenos a one-of-a-kind experience as a bridge and a destination point with active public space, we are all fond of our historic Sixth Street Bridge and want to give it the sendoff it deserves,'' Huizar said.
Huizar, who as a child rode his bicycle across the bridge that serves as a major connection between Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles, said it is "one of our most beloved and treasured landmarks.''
The bridge stretches across the Los Angeles River and is a well-known sight. It has shown up most notably in the movie "Grease,'' and figures in the fond memories of many Angelenos, Huizar said.
The festival, which was expected to draw about 5,000 people, featured food trucks, mural painting, an art exhibit, games, and music performances by War, Aloe Blacc, Graciela Beltran, Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, Angela & Leonardo Aguilar, Bullet & Snowfox, Buyepongo, The Cold & Lovely and DJ Crew Subsuelo.
Capping the event was a fireworks show at the end of the night.
The bridge closes Jan. 3, and demolition begins Jan. 8. The new bridge is set to be completed in 2018. City leaders are also looking into building parks and plazas around the newly built bridge.