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By Julie Sneider, Associate EditorSince it was completed in December 2012, the 584-linear-foot Gold Line Bridge that extends diagonally over the I-210 Freeway's eastbound lanes in Arcadia, Calif., has been attracting plenty of attention.Designed by internationally known artist Andrew Leicester, the Gold Line Bridge is the largest public-art infrastructure project in California to date. It also represents the first completed element of the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension project to expand the light-rail line from Pasadena to Asuza.The bridge's most prominent features are the two, 25-foot concrete basket sculptures that anchor the structure, and the distinctive snakeskin-like markings that run along the bottom of the bridge span. Leicester used the basket theme to pay homage to the San Gabriel Valley’s cultural heritage; the snakeskin-like grooves were cast into the concrete to simulate patterns found on the western diamondback rattlesnake.Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority officials knew early on that they wanted the bridge to do more than provide a pathway for light-rail trains to pass over I-210. They also wanted a work of art that would serve as a gateway to the San Gabriel Valley.
"We had the idea of turning the bridge into a sculpture," says Habib Balian, the construction authority's chief executive officer. "We didn’t want what I call 'plant-on art,' where an artist creates something to stick on the wall. We wanted the art to be in the form of design. The baskets that you now see from the end caps of the bridge — those are part of the structure that's holding up the bridge."