Thursday, February 19, 2009

Arch Bridges: Buena Vista (Broadway) Bridge

Since we studied a closed spandrel arch bridge yesterday I thought we might look at an open spandrel arch today.
Downtown Los Angeles was more rural in appearance when the Buena Vista Bridge (across the Los Angeles River) was built in 1910.  Certainly, this bridge was grander before its sculptural details were removed. Actually, this photo was taken while the bridge was being retrofit, which required taking most of it apart and reassembling it. Seismic retrofits for deck arch bridges require strengthening the spandrel columns and tying the deck together to carry the longitudinal forces to the abutments. There are a couple dozen reinforced concrete arch bridges in Los Angeles and Pasadena that were retrofitted in the 1990's, usually at more expense than replacing the bridges would have cost.
This structure, designed by the architect A.F. Rosenheim, is typical of open spandrel, reinforced concrete bridges built in California at the beginning of the 20th century.  Steel was expensive (and considered ugly) in California, concrete was cheap, and the ornate Beaux Arts style was applied to bridges with the idea of making new cities (like Los Angeles) more attractive. 
Creative Commons License
Arch Bridges: Buena Vista (Broadway) Bridge by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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