Glendale Narrows Riverwalk

A pedestrian bridge is being planned to connect two sections of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk at Flower St. and Fairmount Ave. Photographed on Thursday, March 20, 2014. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / March 20, 2014)

A study on the potential construction of bridges along the Glendale Narrows area of the Los Angeles River — including one that may connect to Griffith Park — is set to begin following City Council approval this week of a $725,000 contract with an engineering firm.

A half-mile trail along the Glendale side of the Los Angeles River known as the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opened in December 2012 after a decade of hurdles, but the trail as well as equestrian and park facilities was just the first part of a multiphase project. The next two phases include plans for two to three proposed bridges that would extend the recreational area, with one or two bridges crossing the Los Angeles River into Atwater Village or Griffith Park.

“The overall project will provide a significant regional trail within Glendale, as well as a link to Griffith Park and other adjacent trails from the communities north and east of the park that are now separated by the rivers and freeways,” according to a city report.

The contract with Los Angeles-based Atkins North America is set to cover a feasibility analysis of future bridges across the Los Angeles River and Verdugo Wash, as well as the design, engineering and construction of two small parks and other recreation amenities.

The $1.4-million second phase — a figure that does not include the Atkins contract — includes extending the current half-mile trail that begins near Bette Davis Park and ends at Flower Street, bridging over a storm drain to Fairmont Avenue as well as an overlook over the Verdugo Wash confluence, where the Verdugo Wash and the Los Angeles River connect just north of the Ventura (134) Freeway. Glendale officials have funding for the second phase from Los Angeles County and the state.

“It’s going to be very scenic,” said Community Services & Parks Director Jess Duran said Tuesday night at the council meeting. “Phase 3 is a much bigger project and much more complicated.”

That third phase would extend the trail over the Los Angeles River to Atwater Village or Griffith Park along one or two bridges, which could cost $10 million. That funding is not currently available.

All City Council members except Mayor Dave Weaver approved the Atkins North America contract, which will be paid for through Los Angeles County’s Measure R and the state’s Proposition 84. Measure R was a half-cent sales tax approved by county voters in 2008 for transportation projects and Proposition 84 provides roughly $5.4 billion in bonds for river, flood control and other water-related projects.

“I do not support a bridge over the river,” Weaver said.

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