LOS ANGELES (AP) — The end has begun for a downtown bridge that played a supporting role in many Hollywood chase scenes down the concrete-lined Los Angeles River.
Giant jackhammers reduced 220 feet of the 6th Street Bridge roadway to rubble by Saturday morning and were working on bringing down three massive support columns, said Mary Nemick of the city Public Works Department.
“We had taken down the entire top of the bridge. That’s completely gone as of eight this morning,” she said.
Crews worked through the night under floodlights to dismantle the deck, which spans the U.S. 101 freeway and the concrete-lined Los Angeles River.
The bridge’s concrete bottom and sides are a Hollywood favorite; the bridge has been in countless films. Think rival gang members Danny and Leo racing in “Grease” or big chases in “Terminator 2” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
A 2.5-mile section of the freeway was closed Friday and a segment under the bridge covered with 2 feet of dirt to protect it from the tons of concrete that crashed down on it.
Detouring drivers on other freeways didn’t find too much of a problem, with delays ranging from about 15 minutes to 25 minutes, said Laurie Wonder of the California Department of Transportation.
“It’s actually been better than we expected. People are heeding the detour rules and heeding our warnings” to stay away from the area, she said.
If all goes well, the freeway will reopen Sunday afternoon, just before the Super Bowl kicks off.
Considered state-of-the-art when it was built in 1932, the bridge has been suffering from a chemical reaction that for decades has weakened its concrete.
Eventually, the entire 3,500-foot bridge will be replaced by a new roadway that has the potential to become another Hollywood backdrop. A 2019 opening has been set after $449 million in work.
Arches above the roadway of the new span are designed to resemble the intermittent arcs of a stone skipping across water.