Construction on the Four Level Interchange
Feb. 12, 1948: Construction begins on the Four Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles. Sunset Boulevard is on the right, Temple Street is on the left and Figueroa Street runs horizontally in the foreground.
Today, the interchange connects U.S. Route 101 – the Hollywood and Santa Ana freeways – and State Route 110 – the Harbor Freeway and Arroyo Seco Parkway.
A story in the Feb. 16, 1948, Los Angeles Times reported:
It is destined to be one of the famed crossroads of the world.
Right now it is just a gouge in the earth, king-sized and littered with machines. They bite out yards of earth at a time, and with a grunt push dozens of tons of soil.
It is the place where the Arroyo Seco Parkway and the Harbor Parkway are to meet and where the Hollywood Parkway will pass over to become the Santa Ana Parkway at Civic Center.
Several blocks of land have been chewed out there from Temple Street to the new bridge on Sunset Boulevard. Most of Centennial Street, two blocks west of Figueroa Street, has vanished…
There will be four road levels. But there will be only two main highways, although each of the two will have separate roadways.
Sixty-five feet up the Hollywood Parkway will flow toward its head-on meeting with the Santa Ana Parkway.
On the second level the north-and-south Arroyo Seco and Harbor Parkways will meet.
The lowest level and the third level will provide feeder and escape lanes for the major highways.
The interchange was finished in 1949, but not fully opened until 1953.
Both construction photos were taken by retired staff photographer Paul Calvert from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. blimp Volunteer. The photo above was published in the Feb. 16, 1948, Los Angeles Times. The photo below was not published. The bottom photo of the completed interchange — with no traffic — was taken during the 1984 Summer Olympics by former staff photographer Ian Dryden.
Feb. 12, 1948: Mounds of dirt in center of aerial photo are the beginnings of the Four Level Interchange at the northern edge of downtown Los Angeles. Sunset Boulevard is at the top of photo. Credit: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times
Aug. 3, 1984: Traffic is light at the downtown Los Angeles Four Level Interchange at 8:40 on a Friday morning during rush hour. The light traffic susprised officials during the 1984 Summer Oympics in Los Angeles. Photo looking south. Credit: Ian Dryden / Los Angeles Times
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