The Vanowen Street Bridge -- now a little roomier and brighter -- was back in business today, as city officials marked its reopening after three years of construction work.
A big hole created by erosion on the north side of the Winnetka bridge prompted officials to close the 275-foot span over the Los Angeles River in Dec. 2010.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield joined Kevin James, the president of the Board of Public Works, and other city officials at the bridge to haul away a sign about the construction.
"We in the community who rely on this bridge at times feel like this sign we are removing -- beat up, battered and worn," Blumenfield said. "It's been here a long time -- too long!"
The new bridge is 25 feet wider, as well as safer, "better lit and more attractive," Blumenfield said.
The south side of the bridge was widened by about 11 feet, and the north by about 14 feet, officials said.
The superstructure of the bridge was replaced, correcting some deficiencies that existed in the original bridge, built in 1956, that made it more vulnerable to earthquakes.
The project also included replacing existing guardrails with architectural railings, the installation of traffic signals were added at Mason Avenue and Vanowen Street and new lighting.--City News Service