LA’s Sixth Street Bridge Is Back. It’s Already a Hotspot for Street Racing

Street racers, influencers, and skaters have all descended upon LA’s new bridge just several days after its opening.

byLewin DayJul 21, 2022 8:47 AM
LA’s Sixth Street Bridge Is Back. It’s Already a Hotspot for Street Racing
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Los Angeles, California's new Sixth Street Viaduct—or the Sixth Street Bridge—only opened this month, but has quickly become a nightmare zone of automotive chaos.

The new span officially opened on July 10 after budget overruns and years of delays. Regardless, it didn't take long for the people of LA to get busy welcoming the new bridge to their city, reports the Los Angeles Times. Drivers and influencers have rushed to christen the bridge with burning rubber. Street racers have been seen laying down smoky burnouts. Full-on takeovers of the bridge have seen spectators climb the arches for a better view, with police showing up to pull them back down again.

The city plans to install cameras to deter street racers and takeover groups from blocking the bridge. Officials are also contemplating the installation of a median to make the bridge a less attractive target.

The new bridge has also drawn condemnation for the design of its bike lanes. Pedestrians get a protected area separated from the roadway by concrete. However, the bike lane is simply on the shoulder of the road.

Plastic bollards spaced many car lengths apart act as a visual deterrent to auto traffic, but little more. They simply fold when run over by a car. Plus, the gaps let vehicles straight through, leaving cyclists with zero protection. It was an intentional design decision to leave the bike lane unprotected, as Caltrans wanted the space to serve as an "emergency lane."

The flaw in that design has already been seen in one crash, with a Dodge Challenger doing a burnout before slamming through traffic and into the barrier. The driver was arrested for hit-and-run charges after he was seen quickly leaving the scene in videos shared on Instagram, according to NBC Los Angeles.

It's not all carnage, though.

A group of local skaters had plenty of fun on the spiral walkways around the bridge, taking a blissful ride down under gravity. Others have gone edgier, though, flipping tricks on the road surface itself.

Even taggers are getting in on the fun. Graffiti sprung up on the bridge's arches before it even opened, with local sprayers eager to make their mark on the pristine concrete.

Right now, the Sixth Street Viaduct is a bridge of contrasts. It's currently the focal point of the LA hype machine. Every wannabe influencer is rushing down there to get their next piece of viral content.

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The original Sixth Street Viaduct was opened in 1932. It was considered for heritage listing in 1986 and featured in all kinds of movies, TV shows, and music videos shot in the city. However, the bridge's poor-quality concrete was cracking and losing strength over time. With the threat of collapse in the event of an earthquake, it was demolished in 2016, with reconstruction starting shortly afterward.

However, the new structure is also a remarkably faithful reimagining of a solid B-tier LA icon. When the novelty dies down and nobody's searching those Sixth Street hashtags anymore, it's likely to return to its original purpose: being a damn fine bridge that looks good to boot.

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