Karen Keal


Meet Karen Keal, Engineer with the City's Sixth Street Team

This month, we conducted an interview with Karen Keal, one of the members of the Bureau of Engineering's team leading the construction of the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project. Karen is part of the all-woman team leading the project for the City and we asked her to tell us more about her role on the largest bridge project in the history of the City of Los Angeles:

What do you do on the project?

I am the City’s structural engineer on the construction management team for this project. I work on the technical engineering aspects and work closely with the Resident Engineer. I also manage a team of consultants for source inspection and testing of critical structural elements, as well as act as the lead coordinator for the five railroad agencies that the viaduct spans over.

When did you start working on the project? 

I joined the Sixth Street Viaduct team in October 2017.

How do you overcome challenges that arise while you’re working?  

This is what being an engineer is all about. We face new challenges every day and the solution for one problem usually does not solve the next one.  Finding good solutions often requires creative innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.

What’s helped you most while working on the viaduct? 

Collaborating with other intelligent and knowledgeable engineers on the Sixth Street Viaduct project team has helped me the most while working on this project. Our team is successful when we work together.

What motivates you to complete this difficult and challenging project?

I am motivated by being pushed out of my comfort zone and having the opportunity to overcome challenges. I’m also motivated by the fact that the completed Sixth Street Viaduct will be an iconic landmark in the City of Los Angeles and will benefit Angelenos for many generations to come. I want to make sure that the Viaduct is a structure that the City will be proud of.

What’s your favorite part of the project?

My favorite part of this project is seeing the viaduct being built before my eyes and having the opportunity to contribute to the City of Los Angeles.