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's Public Works Department.
She said crews were working ahead of schedule and that officials anticipate reopening the U.S. 101 freeway four hours ahead of schedule on Sunday. "Things have gone really well on the demolition," Nemick said.
The bridge spans the U.S. 101 freeway and the concrete-lined Los Angeles River. Its 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.
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.
Watch Mayor Eric Garcetti's public service announcement: https://twitter.com/lamayorsoffice
Contact Justin Pritchard at http://twitter.com/lalanewsman.