GOLD LINE BRIDGE
Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley by Andrew Leicester
The 584-linear-foot Gold Line Bridge was completed on time and within budget in December 2012 and stretches diagonally across the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway in the City of Arcadia. The $18.6 million dual track bridge closes a gap created when the former bridge was removed following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and provides a critical connection between the operational Gold Line and the new stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa.
Award-winning public artist Andrew Leicester was selected by a committee of community representatives following a competitive national call initiated in 2009 by the Construction Authority. Leicester was hired as the Design Concept Advisor before the contractor and architect were selected to conceive an aesthetic vision for the Gold Line Bridge; a strategic move in re-imagining the design process for a largescale infrastructure project. This groundbreaking collaboration resulted in the creation of a sculptural bridge that is quickly becoming an iconic landmark for the San Gabriel Valley.
Leicester’s bridge design was inspired by the craft traditions of local indigenous peoples, native wildlife, and the oversized architectural landmarks and roadside attractions of nearby Historic Route 66. These inspirations permeate the bridge’s structure with the most notable being the two 25-foot tall, 17-foot diameter sculptural baskets flanking the sides of the main superstructure. These elements are tied together visually by the relief-pattern on the outrigger beam that crosses the freeway. The main underbelly of the bridge itself is branded with cast grooves and hatch marks simulating the intricate patterns found on the Western Diamondback snake and metaphorically referencing the connectivity of the transit system.
“This monumental bridge is a symbolic gateway into the San Gabriel Valley, as well as a tribute to those who inhabited this spectacular landscape. As with most ceremonial portals, the symbolic and decorative elements of the bridge serve a vital role in conveying a message to those passing through. They announce the beginning of the San Gabriel Valley, and to those who live there, they say ‘you are not far from your destination.’”
About the Artist
Andrew Leicester is a public artist born and educated in England. He immigrated to the United States in 1970 and resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For three decades, he has created public art projects that range in size and scope from small courtyards to municipal transit plazas, park entrances, and water gardens throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Recent projects are installed at the Civic Center in San Jose, California and the Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. Leicester has received numerous awards for his work as well as fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Leicester’s extensive sketchbook for the Gold Line Bridge project was selected as one of only a few dozen creative professional works at the Art Center College of Design’s “Pages” Exhibition in 2012, which included sketchbooks, manuscripts and rough drafts from the fields of art, science, and literature.