They’re Tearing Down The Sixth Street Viaduct, And A Piece Of Our Childhood Will Go With It
Even if you've never set foot in Los Angeles, you know the Sixth Street Viaduct. Located kind of midway between Dodger Stadium and the USC campus, it's been the site of countless movie scenes and music videos (that's Kanye's original "Jesus Walks" to the left) -- and even video games, since its inception in 1939 -- making it part of your childhood no matter how old you are.
It was the scene of the news team brawl in Anchorman, car chases in Last Action Hero and Repo Man, the drag race in Grease, and even the portal for giant, mutated ants that invaded Los Angeles in the 1951 B-Scifi thriller Them. But the huge concrete waterway -- a dry urban canyon most of the time -- will be but a memory come next week. They're tearing it down this weekend, along with the Los Angeles Bridge that spans it on Whittier Blvd.
They had a farewell party for the bridge in October, but there will be no such fete for the viaduct -- a crumbling archaeological artifact that has likely seen more crime and litter than happy times.
It's all to make way for this:
The Viaduct Replacement Project is going to cost more than $1 billion, and is part of a plan to reclaim the LA River and beautify the area in central Los Angeles.
About the same time that LA started abandoning mass transit for a freeway system, it also created a freeway for water. The LA River, which occasionally jumped its banks and flooded homes and businesses, was paved over in 1939 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But in recent years there's been a movement to try and reclaim the river.
A year ago, federal officials finally approved a $1.3 billion plan to, according to Mayor Garcetti, “reestablish scarce riparian strand, freshwater marsh, and aquatic habitat, while maintaining existing levels of flood risk management.” Though it won’t be gone in sixty seconds, the entire aesthetic—a concrete “river,” and a bridge that lent it a lost-world appeal—is in the process of vanishing.
So there's been a rush by movie production companies to film stuff in the viaduct before it's too late -- look for it in a slew of films over the next two years or so.
And then ... it will be gone.
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