On July 10, the rebuilt Sixth Street Bridge opened to the public, establishing itself as a new monument on the Los Angeles’ landscape that connects downtown’s Arts District with the city’s eastside over the Los Angeles River.

As pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders made their way along the bridge, enjoying the unparalleled view of the skyline, few of them likely knew that one of the people they had to thank for the new stretch of road was a former UCLA engineering student.

Julie Allen, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1992, was the project manager for the Sixth Street Viaduct for seven years, working since 2015 as a principal civil engineer at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering to bring the $588 million bridge to life.

“It was extremely important that we created a new iconic landmark for the residents since the bridge we were replacing was so cherished by the community,” she said.  “Our goal is for the bridge to represent Los Angeles and for the residents to take pride in being a part of its history.”

Before putting her skills to use to create a new crown jewel for the city that has become a magnet for Angelenos (especially photographers), Allen was a student with a love of learning. Growing up in Modesto in California’s Central Valley, she spent her days on the debate team and in mock trial competitions and academic decathlons. She also developed a passion for engineering drawing, also known as drafting, and architecture. 

When it came time to look for a college program that would combine her many passions, Allen chose civil engineering.

“I decided that civil engineering would be a great major to merge my interest in structures and my aptitude in math, and it would still leave me the option to go to law school if I didn’t enjoy engineering,” said Allen, who is now assistant director in the Los Angeles Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Sanitation. “I found that UCLA was not only an outstanding engineering school but also had so much to offer outside of the classroom.”

Read the full story about Julie Allen on the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering website.