First Street Bridge reopens

After four long years, the westbound side of the First Street Viaduct reopened to traffic this week. The bridge was closed in order to build the Metro Gold Line extension to East Los Angeles.

The First Street Viaduct is the second oldest of the classic Los Angeles River bridges designed by city engineer Merrill Butler. While the pylons supporting the bridge were strengthened and widened, engineers also replicated the historic railing on the north side and installed 32 replicas of the bridge’s original light fixtures.

With two additional westbound lanes on the north side, it will be much easier for motorists to make the trip from Boyle Heights to downtown Los Angeles. In addition, the westbound Metro Bus Line 30 will be running service over the bridge starting tomorrow.

The bridge opening ceremony was held yesterday.

6 replies

  1. I think most importantly this opening is most beneficial to cyclists. I always hated the detour to get downtown on 1st st.

  2. Let’s face it… the East Side Extension was originally meant to be an extension of the subway. Unless I’ve got my facts wrong, politics messed it up. Now we have a lumbering train through a part of town that is already congested, and may never grow accustomed to having light rail. On the other hand, it is a blessing for those who cannot afford to drive, no matter how slow it is (a lot more pleasant than the bus)–so it’s “water under the bridge” at this point. However, until the Downtown Connector is built, the East Side Extension’s full value will not be known.

  3. . . . Then just as the bridge ends and your proceed east along 1st street, it becomes NARROW again, to accommodate the Gold Line. The squeeze is on all the way to the Gold Line Tunnels. Don’t worry, drivers AREN’T going to use the wasteful widened bridge because of the squeeze when the bridge ends. It’s still the other bridges and avoiding where the Gold Line travels if one is to really drive anywhere with some speed.

  4. I have to echo what LAofAnaheim said; the eastside gold line is already slow as it is (the slowest Metrorail line actually). Now that driving will be easier, many people simply aren’t going to take the line which sits at lights, goes 30 mph, and does not pick up that much more speed in the subway section (which still baffles me). It’s not really an issue with opening a roadway, rather, its an issue which highlights the problems with the very transit line that parallels it.

  5. Less reason to take the Gold Line now, unfortunately. Would love to see how ridership will be impacted now that driving to East LA has just become more convenient again.