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First Street Viaduct

Los Angeles, California, USA


Client:  City of Los Angeles

Completion Date:  2010

Cost:  $90M



The First Street Bridge restoration project required HABS/HAER documentation and recordation. This Spandrel Arch Bridge that was built in the Art Deco style of the 1920’s had fallen into disrepair and was not compliant with current roadway standards. The project was complicated by the fact that in addition to upgrading the deck to 12 foot traffic lanes and shoulders, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) had a stake in the project as the bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Touchstone Architecture coordinated with SHPO, the National Parks Service, City of Los Angeles Engineering Department, and the contractor to ensure the “Historic Quality” of the bridge was not eroded by the reconstruction process.


The project fell into two distinct categories: HABS/HAER and Section 106 mitigation compliance for historical purposes and the updating of the bridge to modern traffic and safety specifications. Touchstone Architecture was able to balance both requirements to the complete satisfaction of the owner (The City of Los Angeles). As Architects, they recognized the historical significance of the project and made the commitment to bring the bridge up to modern day specifications while keeping the historical aspects intact. Once the technical elements were in place and met local codes, aesthetics became the major thrust of the architecture. Period lamp posts, plaster pylons and Art Deco ornamentations were used to maintain the bridge’s historical theme.