The 6th Street Bridge in Los Angeles connecting the Arts District and Boyle Heights opened on July 10 with much fanfare and hoopla. But then came the drag racing, the street takeovers, the violence, and the daredevils trying to walk the archways that decorate the span.
The bridge was closed numerous times — sometimes for a few hours, sometimes longer.
Now the Los Angeles Police Department has become so concerned about safety that it has closed the bridge indefinitely.
One safety improvement the city has already made was to put in speed bumps on the bridge. But that’s only a temporary solution.
The construction of the bridge took six years and cost nearly $600 million. Ahead of its grand reopening, LA city Councilmember Kevin de León said the bridge would “rival the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park as iconic images of our city.”
The bridge has been closed multiple times, most recently every night this past weekend for what LAPD called “questionable activity.” On Tuesday, Moore announced that speed bumps were being installed on the bridge to deter street takeovers and that a center median and fencing to discourage people from scaling the archways could also be installed soon on a temporary basis.
But given Tuesday night’s announcement those improvements can’t come soon enough, leading to the indefinite closure of the bridge.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday at a police commission meeting. “Despite the hundreds of impounds and citations and arrests, we still see the proliferation of this. So I’m asking for the public’s help and support and assistance.”
Moore said the bridge has become known as a place where people come to “find their 15 minutes of fame” by climbing onto the bridge’s infrastructure, interrupting traffic and posting demonstrations on social media.
The majority of illegal activity is committed by people who are not from the surrounding community, according to Moore.
Video on social media from last weekend showed drivers spinning their wheels and performing other antics on the bridge, leaving the pavement scarred.
Some people even crawled onto the ribbon-like arches that line the bridge to get elevated views of the action.
The incidents are “drawing finite resources, limited resources away from more pressing duties to ensure the safety of this location,” Moore said.
The 6th Street Bridge replaced a bridge that became famous in such movies as Grease and Terminator 2 but was deemed “structurally unsound.” It’s part of a larger construction project that began in 2016. But given the problems associated with this bridge, you have to wonder when it might reopen to the public.