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New Light-Up Downtown Overpasses Will Change Based on Pollution, Weather, Footsteps

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For a while it looked like there were giant pirate hooks growing out of the ground on some of the 101 Freeway overpasses in Downtown, but it turns out it's just art. The sculptural pieces have been underway for a while now but are finally almost complete; when finished, they'll be both cool-looking and functional, incorporating LED lights to help people feel safer as they cross the sidewalks at night, says the Downtown News.

The installation on Los Angeles Street incorporates "a wiry veil of blossom-shaped steel plates" and lights that change according to air pollution and weather. It also looks like "arcing necks of brontosauruses," as the DN notes. The piece on Main Street will reflect pedestrians' footsteps back at them via "a series of swaying steel beams" that light up with LEDs.

The project has been in the works since 2006, when the city decided to do something about all the complaints of "barren and unsafe" overpasses, says a rep for the Department of Cultural Affairs. A contest was held all the way back in 2007 and the winning proposals came from artists Ned Khan and Jenna Didier (who was later joined by her former partners Oliver Hess and Marcos Lutyens). Because so many city agencies had to sign off on the art, the design process took a while, which held up everything; the pieces are only expected to be finished sometime next month.

· A Long Road for a Public Art Project [DN]