The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering fully opened the Riverside Drive Bridge today with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Gil Cedillo of CD1 and Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer, among others. The $60 million project included the replacement of the old bridge, which was seismically deficient, as well as multiple street and traffic improvements. The bridge also features the first Class 1 (protected from traffic) bike lane on a City bridge and the City’s first modern traffic roundabout.
“Bridges are more than infrastructure,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “They are a symbol of the personal connections we make to destinations and to one another. This is a great day for Los Angeles. The bicycle lane and other innovations make it a place where people can travel safely and conveniently by bike, on foot and in their cars.”
The new Riverside Drive Bridge is 1200 feet long and includes three viewpoints off the north side. In addition, there is a 12-foot wide bike path, 8-foot wide sidewalk and a two-lane traffic roundabout on the east side of the bridge.
“We are thrilled to fully open the Riverside Bridge today and celebrate the many amenities this bridge brings to area residents, whether they are driving, walking or biking," said Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer. "This bridge is the safe, modern, multi-modal transportation link that the community deserves and one that they helped make a reality."
The Bureau of Engineering was able to replace the old bridge without ever shutting down traffic to the area. They first built two lanes of the new bridge and then demolished the old bridge. They then added the additional lanes to the bridge.
“Building infrastructure in an urban area has numerous challenges,” added Moore. “We worked to maintain this crossing as the vital link for cars, bikes and pedestrians that it is, and are grateful to the community for their patience and support throughout the project.”
Engineering worked closely with the California Department of Transportation, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Contract Administration and Bureau of Street Lighting.
Connection to LA River Bike Path
The bridge is also an important link to the Los Angeles River bike path, continuing the City’s commitment to expanding river access. Until now, the bike path terminated at the north end of the bridge in Elysian Park. Now cyclists can ride over the bridge, take Avenue 19 to the North Spring Street Bridge, and continue into downtown Los Angeles.
The roundabout on the east side of the bridge moves traffic through the circle in a faster and safer configuration than a traffic light. Federal Highway Administration studies have shown that roundabouts reduce fatalities in intersections by 90 percent, with a 70 percent overall reduction in injury crashes. This is due to slower traffic speeds, all traffic moving in the same direction and no one attempting to speed through a yellow light. Air pollution in the community is also reduced, as no cars are idling at a traffic signal. Although the City has constructed some traffic calming circles, this is the first roundabout.
Public Art Installation
In 2010, Engineering selected artists Brian Howe and Freyja Bardell from Greenmeme to develop public art for the project, overseen by the Department of Cultural Affairs. Over the course of two years, more than 200 community members volunteered to have their faces scanned by the artists, who then used the scans to make composite faces on granite stones placed inside the roundabout. The stones create a “hollow face” illusion on the sculptures; as you move around the roundabout, the nine faces appear to change. The artists used granite stones quarried near Yosemite National Park and used leftover pieces to make the edges around the art.
The Bureau of Engineering is the City's lead agency for the planning, design and construction management of the City's public buildings (police and fire stations, libraries, animal shelters, recreational facilities) and its public infrastructure (bridges, streets, stormwater and wastewater systems). Engineering is also responsible for managing permitting for all construction that takes place in the public right-of-way, as well as managing the City's state-of-the-art online mapping system, NavigateLA. Engineering is committed to designing and building environmentally-sustainable and architecturally-engaging projects that include widespread community engagement. Engineering projects and services support the City's goals of creating a prosperous, livable and safe city for all residents and businesses.
For more information, please visit http://eng.lacity.org.