Firestone Boulevard Railroad Overpass – Los Angeles CA


“FOUR grade separation projects were recently completely in Los Angeles. These projects have a been financed from funds set aside by the Federal Government to be used on grade separation projects. On these projects the State acted as an agent for the Federal Government, contracting and supervising the construction. The projects were intended to relieve labor and carried the condition that as far as practical, labor was to
come from the relief rolls and that labor be confined to one hundred thirty hours per month. It also stipulated that railroad work could be done by the railroad forces.”

“The Firestone Boulevard Grade Separation provides for the carrying of the four high speed interurban tracks of the Pacific Electric Company over Firestone Boulevard. Long gradual approaches carry these tracks to a street structure which spans Firestone Boulevard. Firestone Boulevard, a main trunk highway carrying traffic to the south, was estimated to carry 20,000 automobiles daily, and at this point the interruptions from train crossings were 600 daily.

During the construction of this project the Pacific Electric trains were confined to two”shoofly” tracks placed west of the structure. The construction required that retaining walls be built along Graham Avenue and Park Avenue, followed by the placing of the railroad approach and the pouring of the substructure for the spans across the boulevard. The approach fill of 106,000 cubic yards was made by rail shipments from Long Beach. On completion of these fills the railroad cranes, working from the abutments, placed the structural steel girders and beams across the highway. To provide for pedestrians a subway was constructed through the railroad fill and under the tracks at Eighty-fourth Street. Three railroad stations, one at Eighty-fourth Street, one at Firestone Boulevard and one at Kent Station, were constructed for the convenience of local residents. With the exception of a few hours when structural steel was being erected, traffic was permitted to pass through the project. At a total cost of $323,000 the project, including railroad work, was completed on February 6, 1937.”

The Pacific Electric Company eventually went bankrupt and was liquidated in the late 1950s. In 1990, the LA Metro constructed the Blue Line from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach along the former PEC ROW, replacing the old overpass with a concrete bridge that both the LA Metro and the Union Pacific RR share.

Source notes

By DON WARREN, Senior Bridge Engineer February 1937 issue of California Highway & Public Works magazine

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on December 19, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Los Angeles, CA 90001

Coordinates: 33.960144, -118.243256

2 comments on “Firestone Boulevard Railroad Overpass – Los Angeles CA

  1. The PE did not go bankrupt. The SP sold the PE’s passenger operations to Metropolitan Coach Lines because they wished to focus on freight operations. The PE was never liquidated–it was absorbed into the SP on August 12, 1965. Don L. Hofsommer, Southern Pacific : 1901-1985 (Texas A&M, 1986), p. 232.

  2. Andrew Laverdiere

    Thanks for the correction Arthur. Technically, the debt got shuffled around, but for all intents and purposes, the system was a giant money pit thanks to Huntingtons creation of the suburban sprawl that became the transportation nightmare called Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply

Before leaving a comment, please note:

  • Comments allow viewers to share information with others or alert us to errors or changes in a New Deal site.
  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click below.


We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.