After years of outcry from Encino residents, the pedestrian bridge on Encino Avenue over the 101 Freeway has been successfully demolished and will stay that way.
While the demolition was never a point of contention, the estimated $20 million to rebuild the bridge was questioned by locals who argued the bridge was rarely used.
Not only was the infrastructure in a state of disrepair, the height of the bridge also posed concern for individuals and drivers on the freeway below. Known as a “nonstandard vertical clearance,” the bridge has been hit over time by trucks that are substantially taller than the average truck from the time the bridge was initially constructed.
Over the past few years, Encino residents have argued that the millions of dollars set aside to repair a bridge no one wants should be allocated to repair Encino’s streets and sidewalks instead. With the aid of federal, state, county and city government representatives, their argument was heard and approved.
Caltrans closed all lanes on the 101 Freeway this past weekend between White Oak Avenue and Balboa to successfully, and safely, tear down the pedestrian bridge. Following this overnight closure, the demolition was completed earlier than expected and the freeway was reopened around 6:30 am Sunday morning.
“Caltrans is currently working on plans to upgrade nearby crossing points along the corridor, including at Louise Avenue, to ensure pedestrians and bicyclists have improved and safer access across U.S. 101,” Caltrans spokeswoman Allison Colburn said in a media statement last week. “We will continue working with the Encino community to determine next steps.”