Bridging the Divide Between the Possible and the Impossible

Michael Maltzan and Deborah Weintraub, leaders of the effort to construct L.A.’s newly-opened Sixth Street Viaduct, talk about its lofty goals, significant challenges, and deep lessons.

When the City of Los Angeles officially opened the new 6th Street Viaduct on July 9, a crowd of Angelenos swarmed the bridge deck, much the way New Yorkers had celebrated John A. Roebling’s Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. It’s rare for a piece of civic infrastructure to get such a welcome. But the original 1932 6th Street Bridge was the most revered of the fourteen historic bridges crossing the Los Angeles River, and the new bridge, called the “Ribbon of Light” by its architect Michael Maltzan, came to embody a feeling of communal pride during the years of waiting for the span to reappear.