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Old Posted Dec 3, 2013, 5:10 PM
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Yesterday, Martin Pal posted a link to a 1938 edition of Pacific Electric Magazine with a picture of Monkey Island. On the following page there's an article about the proposed Aliso Street viaduct. It gives many of the measurements and the amount of railroad traffic on the lines it had to cross:

Construction of the Aliso street viaduct across the Los Angeles River, Santa Fe tracks and a number of streets, from Vignes street to the intersection of Mission Road and Aliso street, for which City Engineer Aldrich is seeking federal funds in Washington, D. C., will be of tremendous value in reducing traffic hazards as well as providing traffic convenience, various authorities declare.

The plans call for the Pacific Electric trains operating overhead across the entire sector of Mission Road and the north roadway of Aliso street to a private right of way, it is pointed out.

Elimination of the grade crossing means that 573 Pacific Electric trains of one or more cars in sixteen hours of each day would no longer be interfered with and a great traffic menace would be removed.

The viaduct passes over Santa Fe and Union Pacific tracks carrying sixty-nine Union Pacific and thirty-six Santa Fe trains daily, some of them lengthy freight trains. After completion of the new Union Passenger Terminal, Union Pacific train movements will be increased to 138 trains a day and the viaduct will carry traffic freely over them all. Another advantage of the viaduct pointed out by the proponents is that it eliminates the jams caused by the increase of motor vehicles and trains at the peak traffic hours in the morning and the evening.

The viaduct itself will be 1895 feet long and 105 wide for its entire length. At the west approach, the vehicular roadway will be fifty-six feet in width. Crossing the river the roadway will flare from the west bank to a width of 105 feet at the east line, because at the point it goes through a divided roadway in order to permit the Pacific Electric line to remain overhead in the center of the structure.

Both east and west approaches to the viaduct will consist of reinforced concrete slab spans with curved soffits. A single span is used to cross the river and will consist of a twohinged steel arch, clearing the 212½ foot channel planned for the river at that point by United States Army engineers.

In order to further eliminate crossings at grade, a slot is to be provided in the center of Mission Road, permitting through traffic on the road to pass under Aliso street. The bridge will have divided vehicular roadways, each to be twenty-eight feet wide. There will be a six-foot sidewalk for pedestrians on each side of the roadways. - Pacific Electric Magazine
The article was accompanied by this picture: (PDF file)

I found this drawing, dated 1937, on the LAPL site. The description says: "This drawing published in February 1939 shows the plan for the two-million-dollar Aliso Street grade separation and viaduct over the Los Angeles River to get underway shortly. The State Highway Commission and Councilman Stephen Cunningham reported that the state is ready to contribute $220,000 provided the city and county contribute a like amount. The railroads had already pledged $450,000 as their share. Councilman Cunningham declared the Public Works Administration probably would appropriate $906,000. The plan, approved by city engineer Lloyd Aldlrich, is dated May 21, 1937. The Macy Street bridge is seen in the background."

The diagrams are slightly vague, but both make it look as if the original plan was for all road traffic to enter/leave the east side of the viaduct at Mission Road.

The USC Library has a couple of photos of Aliso Street crossing the Los Angeles River shortly before the construction on the viaduct began.

"View of site of Aliso Street viaduct prior to construction of new bridge, looking west from point about 300 feet east of Mission Road, Los Angeles, 1940."

USC Digital Library

"View along Los Angeles River from Macy Street bridge, Los Angeles, 1940."

USC Digital Library

This image from the LAPL archive is dated 1942, despite what the caption says!

"The Aliso Street Bridge is being built over the Los Angeles River on March 28, 1947 [sic], with train tracks in the foreground."

This aerial shot clearly shows the finished roadway extending east of Mission Road. The caption implies that the cost of the viaduct had doubled by its completion.

"The new Aliso Street Bridge completed on July 24, 1944. An impressive program was scheduled for the opening of the $4,000,000 bridge."

Both diagrams, and the PE Magazine article, suggest that the original plans included a tunnel on Mission Road that went under Aliso Street. The picture below shows that the tunnel was never built. The white building on the left is still there, although it's now painted orange.

"View of the Mission Road span of the Aliso Street viaduct on December 20, 1944, looking north from 150 feet south of Aliso Street."
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