Oct 2018


Sixth Street Viaduct Nightwork Over the 101 Freeway

night_2.jpg If you found yourself on the 101 Freeway late at night during the summer months, you may have occasionally noticed that some Southbound lanes were closed to traffic near the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project site. This was due to construction on the viaduct project over the freeway.

Construction is done during at night to allow us to work over the freeway safely. For example, it would be dangerous to hoist large falsework beams over live traffic, or operate a crane on the freeway. Work like this makes it absolutely necessary to close parts of the freeway for the safety of both the public and our construction crews. 

Although traffic in the middle of the night is very light, making the decision to close lanes on a major freeway is not something we take lightly. A number of agencies are involved in execution of night lane closures. First, the City's Bureau of Contract Administration requests the closure from the California Department of Transportation. Our general contractor, Skanska-Stacy and Witbeck, implements the closure on site with help of the California Highway Patrol. The night shift, which is usually made up of 10 of more workers, includes three people that are responsible for traffic control in the area.

When it comes time for the actual closure, there are a few steps we take before the closure is complete. First, the on-ramps are closed to traffic. Then, a crash truck arrives and cones are set up. The California Highway Patrol diverts traffic to a safe, pre-established detour route and the nighttime work on the viaduct can begin.

By having the closures late at night and in the early hours of the morning, far fewer people must reroute their morning and evening commutes. To help mitigate the additional risks of the night work, many measures are put into place to ensure the safety of those constructing the viaduct. These include the use of specialized personal protective equipment and extra support from the California Highway Patrol. Powerful light systems are used to make sure that everything is well-lit and highly visible for the crew. For all of us on the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project, safety comes first for our workers and the public. 

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About the Project

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The Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project is a new, 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. The $482 million dollar project is the largest bridge project in the history of the city. The bridge is funded primarily through the Federal Highway Administration, with additional City support. The viaduct is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

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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.

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