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Historic Highway Bridges
of Los Angeles County

Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena. Image from postcard published by Gardner-Thompson Co., Los Angeles, circa 1915-1930.

The first bridge over the Los Angeles River was a covered bridge with kerosene lamps at Macy Street. It was completed in 1870.

Bridge Year Built Length (Feet) Location
Badger Avenue Bascule 1923 221 Vicinity Long Beach, over Cerritos Channel, on Henry Ford Ave. First of its kind in California
Cesar Chavez Avenue (formerly Macy St. Bridge) 1926 1,027 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Colorado Street 1913 1,458 Pasadena, Colorado St. over Arroyo Seco
Figueroa Street 1936 803 Los Angeles, I-110 over Los Angeles River. Steel girder river span. Largest of its kind when built.
First Street 1929 --- Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Bridge Year Built Length (Feet) Location
Fletcher Drive 1927 469 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Four-Level Interchange 1949 --- Los Angeles, Intersection of Harbor & Hollywood Freeway. The first freeway-to-freeway interchange in California
Fourth & Lorena Street 1928 390 Los Angeles, 4th St. over Lorena St. One of the most graceful of the open spandrel arch bridges designed in 1920’s.
Fourth Street Viaduct 1930 1,837 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Franklin Avenue (also Shakespeare Bridge) 1925 261 Los Angeles, on Franklin Ave. over unnamed Arroyo. Mimics Gothic Revival detailing of other public buildings in Los Feliz.
Bridge Year Built Length (Feet) Location
Geneva Boulevard 1937 98 Glendale, over Verdugo Wash. The three Vierandeel trusstypes in Glendale may be oldest in U.S.
Glendale-Hyperion 1929 518 Los Angeles, on Glendale Blvd. over Los Angeles River
Glenoaks Boulevard 1937 95 Glendale, on Glenoaks Blvd over Verdugo Wash. Very rare example of Vierandeel trusstype – common in Europe - rare in U.S. The three Vierandeel trusstypes in Glendale may be oldest in U.S.
Holly Street 1924 410 Pasadena, over Arroyo Seco
Kenilworth Avenue 1936 99 Glendale, on Brand Ave. over Verdugo Wash. The three Vierandeel trusstypes in Glendale may be oldest in U.S.
Bridge Year Built Length (Feet) Location
Macy Street Undercrossing 1931 --- Los Angeles, Macy St. under RR tracks of Union Station. Structurally part of Union Station.
Main Street 1910 300 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Ninth Street 1925 1,422 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
North Broadway Viaduct (also Buena Vista Bridge) 1910 866 Los Angeles, N. Broadway over Los Angeles River
San Rafael 1922 355 Pasadena, over Arroyo Seco
Bridge Year Built Length (Feet) Location
Seventh Street 1910/ 1927 1,000 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Spring Street 1928 682 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River
Sunset-Silver Lake 1934 85 Los Angeles, Sunset Blvd over Silver Lake Blvd.
Washington Boulevard 1931 312 Los Angeles, over Los Angeles River

Source: California Dept. of Transportation and Bridgehunter.com

Sixth Street Viaduct over Los Angeles River. Demolished in 2016. Photo from the Library of Congress.

The iconic Sixth Street Viaduct, once spanning 3,446 feet over Los Angeles River near Downtown Los Angeles, was demolished in 2016. It was built in 1932 and was the largest concrete bridge built in California until 1945. In 2022, the new Sixth Street Viaduct (or Sixth Street Bridge) opened at the same location, spanning 3,500 feet. The new $588 million bridge, the largest bridge project in the history of Los Angeles, incorporates ten sweeping pairs of arches (ranging in height from 30 to 60 feet above the roadway) in its design as a tribute to the original bridge. It was designed by HNTB Architecture Inc. and Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan.

At its opening in 1913, Pasadena's beautiful Colorado Street Bridge was proclaimed to be the highest concrete bridge in the world at the time. The bridge was built with a curve in order to find more solid footing across the seasonally wet Arroyo Seco below. It was built by the Kansas City firm of Waddell & Harrington in 1913. Owner John Waddell had already achieved some fame in bridge-building circles as the inventor of the vertical lift bridge. The Colorado Street Bridge was the first and only reinforced concrete bridge project by the firm.

The Santa Fe Arroyo Seco Bridge, built in 1895 and standing over the Pasadena Freeway (SR-101), is the oldest standing and highest railroad bridge in Los Angeles County. It is 700 feet long and stands at 100 feet high.

Some Venice Canal Bridges are listed in the National Register as part of the Venice Canals Historic District. Included are four bridges built in 1906 on Dell Avenue across the Carroll, Sherman, Linnie, and Howland Canals.

The longest stairway in Los Angeles is believed to be a steep stairway found about a quarter block from the intersection of Baxter Place and Avon Street in Elysian Heights. It has 230 steps. - Stairway Walks in Los Angeles, Adah Bakalinsky & Larry Gordon; Wilderness Press, Berkeley