Deteriorated to the point where it was unsafe to cross, the bridge and island were closed to park users. In the interim, with the exception of the occasional filming or special event, the island has become a de facto bird sanctuary.
Recreation and Parks, Metro Griffith Park Construction Services crews under the supervision of Larry Mottler stripped the bridge of all its wood decking and rails, all the way down to the steel support structure. With pontoons as a work platform, the crew stripped the paint, rebuilt the wooden deck and railing, repaved the approach, and finally repainted the bridge.
At the urging of the Echo Park Historical Society several layers of red paint were peeled away from the steel structure to expose 4 or more layers of green, last seen over more than 14 years ago before the bridge was unfortunately painted red. The green bridge can also be appreciated in the 1974 film classic Chinatown.
By September it is anticipated that a new decorative, artist designed and fabricated gate will replace the steel bars that currently restrict access to the bridge and that the island will might be made accessible for special events or possibly during daylight hours.
Special thanks to Council President Eric Garcetti and District Director Mitch O’Farrell for facilitating the discussions between Recreation and Parks and the Echo Park Historical Society that resulted in a historically sensitive reconstruction of this Echo Park Landmark.
Additional thanks to the Recreation and Parks construction crew: Head Carpenter Louis A. Suarez, Carpenters Omar Vegas and James Shakir, Apprentice Carpenter Bryan Kelly, and Helper Jose Ramos.