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LA River’s Atwater Village-Griffith Park bridge is a very expensive ‘gift’

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Angelenos will pay for about 75 percent of the bridge’s $16-million price tag

Courtesy of the Bureau of Engineering

Construction on a pedestrian/equestrian/bike bridge that will span the LA River and link Atwater Village and Griffith Park is likely to begin this summer, but the Los Angeles Times points out it isn’t really the gift it was originally supposed to be.

When the bridge was first proposed, the idea was that construction and design costs would mostly be paid for with an almost $5-million donation from Crossroads of the World owner and philanthropist Morton La Kretz.

That might have covered the costs in 2011, but as delays pushed back the construction timeline, the project’s price tag ballooned.

And as the design demands on the project increased—it needed to be designed to so as not to increase flood risk in the river—the price tag swelled even more, says the Times. The bridge is now expected to cost just over $16 million, “with taxpayers shouldering about three-fourths of the cost,” reports the Times.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the Atwater Village side of the bridge, noted at a hearing for the project earlier this month that the project originally began as a way to get horses to cross the river safely, but now it’s swollen to “a $16.12-million bridge that the community didn’t really ask for.”

The bridge project was approved by a city council’s Transportation Committee last week and will head next to the full city council for final approval.