February Newsletter


February Newsletter
Bureau of Engineering Spotlights Its Engineers for
Engineering Week 2022
Every year, during the last week of February, the National Society of Professional Engineers dedicates a week to highlight the contributions engineers make in their communities. This year’s Engineer’s Week theme is “Reimagine the Possible.” So, for this month's newsletter, we talked to our Sixth Street Viaduct project engineers, to learn more about their work on the project and their role in the city. 
Our Sixth Street Viaduct engineers come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique perspectives on what the viaduct means to them and to the City of Los Angeles. Karen Keal, Structural Engineer with Engineering, has worked on the viaduct project for four years. Although she has worked on other City projects throughout her career, she is especially proud of her work on the Sixth Street Viaduct and the many ways it will benefit the City of Los Angeles for generations to come. Civil Engineer Miguel Camarena called the new viaduct “the spotlight of Los Angeles,” saying it will be an iconic structure for the city, much like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
According to Civil Engineer Ravil Manapov, some features on the new viaduct are rare to find in other bridges, such as the use of concrete arches, post-tensioning methods and couplers, key components in ensuring that the bridge will last at least 100 years. Civil Engineer Natalie Moore stated that horizontal directional drilling was another rare technique used during construction. This allowed the engineers to relocate power lines by drilling underneath the railroad and the Los Angeles River, making the area around the Sixth Street Viaduct more visually pleasing.
Not only is innovation needed in construction operations, but in construction planning too. Senior Civil Engineer Shawyue Doong said that early on he was able to find a way to do the project management plans in house. Normally this process is outsourced to consultants but doing it in house was a cost-saving measure, which is something Doong was incredibly proud of. 
"The spotlight of LA" is being built to last over 100 years
The engineers working on the project are passionate about the technical parts of their job, as well as making a difference in the community. Julie Allen, Engineering’s Principal Civil Engineer and Program Manager for the Sixth Street Viaduct, said that helping to improve the lives of others is just one of the many rewards of the job. For example, Farzad Vakilitabar, Assistant Structural Engineer, has also worked on the LAX Automated People Mover. He looks forward to seeing this help people get to their destinations faster, something that will have a big impact on travelers.
Introduce a Girl to Engineering
Working on projects that benefit the community gives the engineers a sense of pride, especially some of the women engineers who are making strides in a professional that is still made up of more men than women. Engineering’s women engineers had words of inspiration for other women who may be looking to join the field.
“Don’t be intimidated, just dive in and see if you like it. You may develop a strong aptitude for it,” Julie Allen said. “You may be in meetings where you're the only female engineer but look at it as an opportunity to shine. Show what you know, do a great job, and be proud of it.” 
Julie added that one way to open opportunities to women is to encourage more young women to explore the professional as early as junior high – through workshops and field trips and other opportunities – to discover their passions.
“I definitely encourage women who are considering becoming an engineer to be confident and not to be deterred by the fact that there are less women in the field,” said Karen Keal
About the Project
The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering is leading the construction of the new, $588 million Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles. The completed structure will be a 3,500-foot long viaduct connecting Boyle Heights and the Arts District across the Los Angeles River. The original viaduct was built in 1932, but had significantly deteriorated due to "concrete cancer"; it was demolished in 2016. The new viaduct will have ten pairs of lit arches, bike lanes and wider sidewalks, along with stairway access and bike ramps connecting to 12 acres of recreational and open space under the bridge, including the Len Hill Plaza. The bridge is funded primarily through the Federal Highway Administration, with additional City support. The viaduct will be completed in Summer 2022.
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Stay Involved!
The Bureau of Engineering is the City's lead agency for the planning, design and construction management of the City's public buildings and its public infrastructure. Engineering is also responsible for managing permitting for all construction that takes place in the public right-of-way, as well as managing the City's state-of-the-art online mapping system, NavigateLA. Engineering is committed to designing and building environmentally-sustainable projects that include extensive community input. Engineering projects and services support the City's goals of creating a prosperous, livable and safe city for all residents and businesses.
Visit our website at www.sixthstreetviaduct.org