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The Spring Street Bridge, Los Angeles, CA

Client: City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
Project Type: Public
Status: Completed

The widening of the North Spring Street Bridge in downtown Los Angeles represents a complex process that sought ways to satisfy engineering, aesthetic and social/political requirements and sensitivities. The North Spring Street Bridge commenced construction in 1927 and is considered, like many other bridges crossing the LA River, to be a historical resource. Therefore, when it was determined that the bridge no longer meet basic safety standards and was seismically unfit, the Bureau of Engineering was faced with a dilemma. How to upgrade the existing structure which included traffic and pedestrian functions without losing the bridge’s historical status and its role as an iconic structure cherished in its neighborhood. The Bureau explored several options and input from multiple stakeholders over an extensive process produced an accepted solution-- a single-sided widening on the south side of the bridge. The design incorporates two concrete arches which trace the geometry of the original span, deepening the notion of energy in a static structure. The direction satisfied multiple goals. The widening is structural compatible with the original. The new bridge deck accommodates safer traffic and bike lanes as well as new pedestrian sidewalks in a city that increasingly encourages a walk-able infrastructure. The community continues its relationship with a recognizable visual that is part of it’s fabric and, the aesthetic differentiation of the addition, accomplished through careful detailing derived from the original, comports with the Secretary of Interiors Standards for historical structures.