LA’s Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge faces increased crime

West

The sun sets behind the Los Angeles skyline during the opening ceremonies of the Sixth Street Bridge, a viaduct that connects the downtown Arts District with the historic Boyle Heights neighborhood, Saturday, July 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Los Angeles (NewsNation) — Los Angeles’ new Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge has become a site for increased crime since its grand opening in early July.

On Friday at 2 a.m. a vehicle reportedly crashed into the back of a truck stopped in a “No Parking” zone, causing bystanders to gather around the site and back up traffic.

While some onlookers elected to park their vehicles on the bridge to view the accident from their sunroofs, video footage showed others scaling the bridge’s archways.

Friday’s incident is the latest in what has become a series of criminal and unorderly acts ranging from crashes, street takeovers and races on the newly-opened bridge. There’s even viral video of someone getting their hair cut in the middle of traffic.

With a price tag of $588-million — making it the largest and most expensive bridge Los Angeles has ever built — the expectation was for the structure to be a celebration of the city and a model comparable to the structures in the Bay and over the East River in New York.

“It’s our generation’s love letter to the city,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at its unveiling.

The appreciation, however, has not lived up to expectations, and locals are annoyed.

“Obviously you’re never going to know what’s going to happen. There was no planning, no nothing. This is it now: chaos and traffic,” Manuel Esparaza, a Boyle Heights resident, said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Friday.

“There’s always parties and you see even barbeques by the bridge, but I’m sure the hype will come down in a few months or so, or I hope it does,” Elmira Ubana, an area resident, added.

The Los Angeles Police Department has increased patrols to help combat mischief, even enlisting a street racing task force, as drivers have been caught performing burnouts on the bridge.

“This bridge is a lifeline — connecting Angelenos to opportunity, family, and the future. … We won’t be deterred by a few scofflaws who tarnish that vision for the people who need it most,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León in a statement Friday morning.

In addition to increased police presence, the city has contracted a graffiti removal company for daily cleanings and is reportedly looking into installing cameras.

“This is the first bridge built in the Instagram era — and as we’ve seen, people will do anything in the pursuit of going viral. That’s why we’re moving quickly on a multi-pronged effort, so that will keep folks from harming themselves and others,” de León said.

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