Street takeovers and wheelie contests force closure of iconic Los Angeles bridge, LAPD says

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By Stella Chan and Zoe Sottile, CNN

(CNN) – Authorities have been forced to intermittently close Los Angeles’ iconic 6th Street Bridge four times in five days for various illegal activities, including street takeovers, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. .

The viaduct, built in 1932, was closed in 2016 for upgrades to the seismically deficient structure. The $588 million in improvements was considered the biggest bridge project in the city’s history, and it reopened on July 10 to much fanfare.

Mayor Eric Garcetti called the bridge “a new landmark that represents the toughness, beauty and promise that defines Los Angeles.” in a press release before the reopening.

But since reopening, the bridge has been plagued by street racing and other illegal activities, police say.

On July 22, the bridge was closed due to public safety concerns, the LAPD said in a news release. listing the antics on deck. At noon on July 23, “about 15 moped/street bike riders were doing wheelies on the bridge, as a display of speed,” according to police. Anticipating a street takeover, the police responded and did not need to close the bridge.

That night, police closed the bridge “due to unruly crowds and vehicle takeovers,” the LAPD said. On July 24, the bridge was closed to vehicles after a large group of trucks showed up, obstructing traffic and “appeared to be preparing for a street takeover,” police said.

A few days later, a cyclist pointed a laser pointer in the eyes of an officer. The suspect fled as a group of cyclists “continued to block traffic and perform stunts”, prompting another closure, police said.

The officer was medically treated and then released.

The bridge closed again on Wednesday “due to illegal activity and public safety concerns,” according to the LAPD. said in a tweet.

The department’s Street Racing Task Force and local divisions are working to curb illegal activity on the bridge.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore addressed the police board at its weekly meeting on Tuesday and called the bridge a destination site, comparing its appeal to other locations like the Hollywood Bowl, Disney Concert Hall and Venice Beach. The structure, dubbed the “Ribbon of Light”, features 10 LED-lit arches.

However, the bridge has become a backdrop where people gather for displays, “outrageous driving antics” while trying to “maybe find their 15 minutes of fame,” Moore said, noting the shot. bridge opening and closing whip.

In a viral social media stunt, a barber set up a chair and did haircuts on the bridge, balancing between oncoming traffic, according to CNN affiliate KABC-TV.

Last Sunday, the Bureau of Street Services began installing bridge speed bumps and fencing to “deter individuals from climbing over the arches of this roadway,” Moore said.

Scenes from the movies “Grease” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and a host of others shot racing scenes under the Los Angeles River Bridge.

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