Sixth Street Viaduct to be updated with new design

Los Angeles may not be steeped in colonial American tradition like Philadelphia or Boston, but it certainly has its own unique history - and its many historical landmarks reflect that. One important landmark is the Sixth Street Viaduct, a massive concrete structure connecting the Boyle Heights neighborhood with downtown Los Angeles. However, this famous Los Angeles engineering wonder isn't as strong as it looks - and now, the city is ready to have it replaced with a new design.

Just 20 years after the bridge's completion, the high alkali content in the concrete used for its construction caused the support to begin to fail. Now, experts estimate that the bridge will likely collapse in the next 50 years if something isn't done to fix it.

Luckily, Los Angeles officials recognize the historical and practical importance of the Sixth Street Viaduct, which is one of 14 LA river crossings in the city. Consequently, a project has been launched to retrofit the viaduct with a new design that will withstand Los Angeles' seismic activity and keep Boyle Heights connected to the LA Arts District. By the end of 2012, a new design will be selected, and construction on the restored viaduct is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

One company competing to design the new bridge is a local firm called AECOM, based in downtown Los Angeles. With an intimate knowledge of the city, AECOM believes it can beat out its New York- and Kansas-based competitors. According to EGP News, because its office is located in Southern California, AECOM has a unique understanding of the needs of the communities the viaduct serves.

“We know L.A.,” Andres Ocon, P.E., Senior Vice President of AECOM, told the news source.

The new bridge could help preserve property values in Boyle Heights, one of Los Angeles' youngest neighborhoods. Located east of Los Angeles, Boyle Heights is close to downtown and populated largely by working class families and individuals who have been hit hard by the recession. Luckily, recent construction of affordable housing has made Boyle Heights an attractive option for newcomers to LA without a lot of money to burn.

As home prices rise throughout the city and optimism about economic recovery slowly returns, Boyle Heights is no exception - and with a safe bridge connecting it to downtown Los Angeles, real estate in Los Angeles and the Eastside could soon be enjoying good news.