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Hundreds of people gathered on the 6th Street Bridge on Saturday afternoon for a festival to mark the closing of the iconic span next year.

A curving 3,500-foot concrete bridge that connects the downtown Arts District to Boyle Heights, the structure will be torn down next year because of a chemical reaction that threatens to destabilize its concrete.

The new 6th Street Bridge, a $428-million project expected to open in 2019, will echo the design of the old one: a four-lane road framed by curved arches of varying heights following the approximate path of a stone skipped across a pond.

Planners imagine the bridge as one that dedicates equal space to pedestrians, bicyclists and cars and integrates the two very different communities it connects.

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