Time is running out for an aging, historic bridge in Los Angeles that spans the soon-to-be-transformed Los Angeles River, as its demolition may occur within the next week to prepare the way for a new bridge being built upstream.
The old Riverside Drive span is getting in the way because construction for the new bridge would require the space the old bridge now occupies, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The new Los Angeles River plan has been championed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who won the federal government’s support for a $1 billion restoration effort.
Proponents of keeping the bridge and turning it into a “bridging green space” for bicyclists and pedestrians include Kevin Mulcahy, an architect with RAC Design Build, who argues the revitalized bridge would become “the missing link” for the transformed waterway, the Times reports.
Demolishing the old bridge was condoned by the City Council eight years ago, long before the present plan to transform the Los Angeles River had been approved by the federal government. That plan allowed for the new bridge to simply replace the old one, but defenders of the old bridge assert that because the new bridge is to be built upstream, there is no need to destroy the old one.
Over 2,000 people have signed an online petition to preserve the old bridge, which was built in 1027 and designated a historic monument in 2007 as a response to the City Council’s plan to tear it down.
But the Los Angeles Board of Public Works rebuffed the petitioners, claiming city engineers said keeping the bridge would jeopardize federal funding as well as create other problems.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the district including the bridge, said to fix the bridge isn’t feasible.
On Monday, preservationists saw a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge turn down their bid for a temporary restraining order. They vowed to fight on to save what they note is the last steel truss bridge over the Los Angeles River.