New Los Angeles bridge opens, then quickly closes amid chaos

Jul 27, 2022, 2:46 PM | Updated: 3:20 pm
Cars move along the 6th Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. The newest bridge ...

Cars move along the 6th Street Viaduct in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. The newest bridge in Los Angeles, a $588-million architectural marvel with views of the downtown skyline, opened to great fanfare on July 10. It has already been closed, to great dismay, several times since then amid chaos and collisions. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The newest bridge in Los Angeles, a $588-million architectural marvel with views of the downtown skyline, opened to great fanfare on July 10. It has already been closed, to great dismay, several times since then amid chaos and collisions.

The 6th Street Viaduct — which soars over the concrete-lined Los Angeles River to connect downtown to the historic Eastside — quickly became a hotspot for street racing, graffiti and illegal takeovers that draw hundreds of spectators to watch drivers perform dangerous stunts in their vehicles.

Social media stunts have abounded as well — in one case, a man sat in a barber’s chair for a haircut in the middle of the lanes. And the crashes are piling up, including a three-car collision where one driver, who had been part of a street takeover, left his white Dodge Challenger and ran from the scene. He later turned himself in.

The Los Angeles Police Department has closed the bridge multiple times — an exact count was not available Wednesday — and in the latest move, announced Tuesday that it would be “closed until further notice due to illegal activity and public safety concerns” before backtracking and reopening it hours later.

Officials hope to install speed bumps, safety fences and cameras on the less than three-week-old bridge to curtail the behavior. In the meantime, officers are impounding vehicles and issuing citations.

“We ask for everyone to take a pause and recognize that this is a figure or a location in Los Angeles that we all want to be proud of,” Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. “We want to show the world that we are a world-class city, that we can have these types of features and we can take care of them, respect them.”

The bridge spans 3,500 feet (1,066.80 meters) from the trendy Arts District to Boyle Heights, a traditionally working class Latino neighborhood, in the largest and most expensive bridge ever built in the city.

Known as the “Ribbon of Light” for its thousands of LED lights and tilted arches — which have already attracted daredevil pedestrians and skateboarders — it replaced an 84-year-old Art Deco bridge. That structure, seen in countless Hollywood movies including “Grease” and “Terminator 2,” was demolished in 2016 after a chemical reaction weakened its concrete over decades.

Mayor Eric Garcetti called the new bridge “our generation’s love letter to the city” during its opening weekend.

“While the Mayor recognizes that the celebration of this bridge is overwhelmingly positive, he has no tolerance for behavior that keeps Angelenos from enjoying this new landmark,” said Harrison Wollman, Garcetti’s press secretary, in a statement Wednesday. “The City is reviewing additional safety options and is taking immediate action to ensure the bridge is safe and accessible for everyone.”

John Yi, executive director of pedestrian advocacy nonprofit Los Angeles Walks, said the bridge wasn’t built to optimize pedestrian and bicyclist safety. It currently lacks a center median, for example, though discussions to add one are underway.

Yi said the shutdowns are city leaders’ attempts to reframe the discussion away from poor infrastructure and toward the street racers and other risk-takers.

“It’s the message the city’s trying to send to the public: This is not our fault, this is their fault,” he said.

But Yi said the bridge’s design was flawed from the start: “If you provide a concrete jungle gym, then that’s how people will use it.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


This Wanted poster released Sunday, Aug 7, 2022, by the Albuquerque Police Department shows a vehic...
Associated Press

Albuquerque police seek car in killings of 4 Muslim men

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities investigating whether the killings of four Muslim men are connected said Sunday that they need help finding a vehicle believed to be connected to the deaths in New Mexico’s largest the city. Albuquerque police said they released photos of the vehicle suspected of being used in the four homicides, hoping […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Report: Dozens got sick after visiting Kansas splash park

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A new federal study said dozens of people got sick after visiting a splash park near Wichita, Kansas, last summer. The study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 21 people contracted Shigella bacteria and six others became sick with the norovirus after visiting the splash park […]
19 hours ago
A sign marks the water line from 2002 near Lake Mead at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Sat...
Associated Press

More human remains discovered as drought dries Lake Mead

More human remains have been found at drought-stricken Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, authorities said Sunday.
19 hours ago
Associated Press

North Carolina sheriff stocking schools with AR-15 rifles

MARSHALL, N.C. (AP) — When schools in one North Carolina county reopen later this month, new security measures will include stocking AR-15 rifles for school resource officers to use in the event of an active shooter. Spurred by the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead in May, […]
19 hours ago
Republican Kentucky State Representative Savannah Maddox addresses the audience gathered during the...
Associated Press

Kentucky candidates struggle when describing 2020 election

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Republicans came to the state’s premier political event this weekend intent on winning elections in November and beyond, but some candidates aspiring to become governor had a hard time coming to terms with Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020. They gave parsed or tortured responses when asked if Democrat Joe […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Miss America 2018 Cara Mund poses for photographers on the 86th Floor Observation Deck of th...
Associated Press

Former Miss America Cara Mund plans to run for Congress

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Cara Mund, a former Miss America who gained attention by criticizing the organization near the end of her reign in 2018, plans to run for Congress in North Dakota as an independent. Mund announced her candidacy Saturday and said she would start gathering the 1,000 signatures she needs to get on […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
New Los Angeles bridge opens, then quickly closes amid chaos