Forty hours of bridge demolition work were reduced to eight minutes in a time-lapse video that shows crews tearing down the Sixth Street bridge east of downtown Los Angeles.
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The first phase of demolition began Feb. 5 and was completed on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. The time-lapse video provided by Caltrans shows a 40-hour window, beginning that Friday at 10 p.m.
The video shows a flicker of head- and taillights on the 101 Freeway under the bridge coming to a stop as heavy construction equipment moves into view. It also shows crews spreading a 2-foot deep layer of soil on the freeway, closed during that weekend, to protect it from falling chunks of concrete.
As the scene transitions to daylight Saturday, the bridge deck disappears and construction machinery appears to peck away like giant birds at large concrete support columns. Finally, debris and the protective layer of soil are removed from the road and workers replace the center barrier before traffic begins to flow again on the 101 Freeway.
Demolition work is expected to last about nine months and be followed by a $449 million project to build a replacement bridge. The new bridge is anticipated to be completed by 2019 at the earliest. The design of the new bridge includes references to the current bridge, including 10 pairs of arches.
The bridge, which joins Boyle Heights with downtown Los Angeles, is being replaced due to deterioration caused by a chemical reaction in the concrete.
The longest of 14 historic bridges that provide passage over the Los Angeles River, the Sixth Street Viaduct became an iconic part of Los Angeles and made several appearances in film and TV shoots. The bridge has been featured in the films "Terminator 2" and "Grease," TV shows "Lost" and "The Amazing Race" and music videos by Madonna, Kid Rock and Kanye West.
Restoration efforts never entirely fixed the chemical reaction problem and a 2004 seismic study determined the bridge has a "high vulnerability to failure" is a major earthquake. Officials said last year that the bridge would be demolished due to its erosion and the likelihood it could collapse during an earthquake. A new bridge is expected to replace Sixth Street bridge when it debuts in 2018.
One arch from the old bridge, built in 1932 and considered an important engineering achievement at the time, will be preserved during demolition and used in a community space that will be built underneath the bridge.