ATWATER VILLAGE—A white spire that rises 126 feet out of the Los Angeles River now dominates the skyline in North Atwater Village as part of a new bridge that will soon offer safe passage across the river for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
The cable-stayed bridge which broke ground in 2018 is now more than 75% complete, according to the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, and is expected to be completed on New Year’s Eve this year.
The completion of the 325-foot-long bridge has been long anticipated and met with some controversy after its original projected cost of about $4 million in 2011 soared to more than $16 million by the time the project was approved in 2017.
Originally expected to be completely funded through a $3.7 million donation by private philanthropist Morton La Kretz, the City of Los Angeles is now footing more than $12 million of the bill as part of “Vision Zero,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s program aimed at ending traffic fatalities in the city by 2025.
“It’s ironic because that money might have been used to house the homeless people who live down in the river,” said local cycling enthusiast Paul Martin, referring to homeless encampments along Atwater’s stretch of the river that have become a growing concern among residents.
While funding for infrastructure projects like this one comes from a different bucket than funding that would potentially combat homelessness, Martin said the finger-shaped spire of the bridge is “kind of a giant f-you” to all the people experiencing homelessness on the river.
Carl recently reported on a new bridge built to help cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians cross the Los Angeles River in North Atwater Village. The bridge saw some controversy after costs skyrocketed, but some residents are just happy to have a bridge to improve access to Griffith Park in the area north of Los Feliz Blvd.