River LA Celebrates North Atwater Bridge Groundbreaking

As hopefully, you’ve heard, earlier this month, we joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and many of our other partners to break ground on the new North Atwater Multimodal bridge. At the event, Mayor Garcetti said, “The L.A. River is an extraordinary treasure with limitless potential for the communities that surround it. This bridge will give Angelenos better access to green space — creating a destination for people across Los Angeles to disconnect from city life and enjoy nature.”

This bridge, which is designed for pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians will, for the first time, provide easy access to Griffith Park from North Atwater. This will impact thousands of families and provide much-needed access to green space.

There are many, many people to highlight for this accomplishment, which was an innovative model of philanthropy catalyzing public investment.  As a nonprofit created by the City of Los Angeles as part of the City’s River Revitalization Master Plan in 2007, our goal is to bring together the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. We want to thank the many people who made this exciting project happen.


The Incredible Leaders

We are honored to have worked alongside so many leaders and political agencies to make this bridge possible. This includes Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressperson Jimmy Gomez, Councilmembers David Ryu and Mitch O’Farrell, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, California Transportation Commission Chair Fran Inman, and City Engineer Gary Lee Moore.

This bridge would not have been possible without their leadership and commitment!  

Visionary Philanthropic Partners

The La Kretz family has been a long-time supporter of the city of Los Angeles and we’d like to acknowledge their visionary support in this project. The support from Linda Duttenhaver & Mort La Kretz has had a wide impact on this bridge and the energy surrounding the LA River.

Additionally, we want to highlight the continued support of our founding donors, and other philanthropic partners like the California Community Foundation. Their perseverance and commitment to the future of the Los Angeles River have allowed us to do this important work for our community, and we are grateful.

The Brilliant Designers, Consultants, and Agency Staff

And now a little about the bridge itself. We want to spotlight the tremendous efforts of the creators of this bridge. This inspiring group took a vision, put it on paper, and brought it to life.

The design was a labor of love by Steve Chucovich while at BuroHappold Engineering, an international firm operating in 23 locations worldwide that have been delivering creative, value-add solutions for 40 years. Mr. Chucovich brought his over 30 years of experience in solving complex urban design and planning problems to deliver the elegant and beautiful bridge design that is currently under construction.

Mr. Chucovich worked closely with Ben Feldman of Studio-MLA, a landscape design firm.  The landscaping is part of the project’s transformative power that will enhance the livability of the local neighborhood, connect people to the LA River, and help to create another meaningful space for recreation, reflection, and exploration in Los Angeles.

The overall design was supported and made possible by the critical engineering expertise provided by Fuscoe Engineering and Leighton. Andrew Willrodt of Fuscoe delivered civil engineering which thoughtfully integrated the built environment into the natural ecology of the LA River in a creative and responsive manner. Vincent Ip of Leighton provided the foundational geotechnical engineering, managing the specialty exploration and testing in the difficult conditions encountered in the LA River.

Leading up to and upon completion and permitting of the design, River LA relied upon the generous pro bono services of Holland & Knight, a global law firm with more than 1,250 lawyers and other professionals in 27 offices throughout the world. Holland & Knight Partner and West Coast Real Estate practice group leader, Douglas A. Praw, provided essential counsel and service to River LA, developing the complex legal document that enabled the transfer of the completed and permitted design to the City of Los Angeles for construction.

There are also the many public sector collaborators. Many thanks to:

  • Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero,
  • Chief Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub,
  • Executive Officer for City Services Dr. Carol Armstrong,
  • LARiverWorks’ Michael Affeldt and Amalia Merino
  • Bureau of Engineering’s Shirley Lau and Marcelino Ascensio, Structural Review, Design Standards, Street Services, and all the approving departments
  • LADOT staff
  • LA County Department of Public Works and County Flood Control staff
  • LADWP staff
  • Regional Water Quality Control Board staff
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife staff
  • CalTrans staff
  • Army Corps of Engineers staff

And of course, you and other community members!

All of this work is possible because of the continued support of folks like you. This bridge is a perfect example of the teamwork, perseverance, and possible surrounding the Los Angeles River. This bridge is a win for the river, the community, and the future of LA County. We are so excited to continue this work with you.

If you can, please donate to help us continue this work!

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